Canisius earns 68-62 win over Robert Morris

Takal Molson (15) led all Canisius scorers with 14 points. (Photo: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

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Canisius junior Takal Molson led all Canisius scorers with a team-high 14 points and junior Isaiah Reese posted his fifth career double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds to help lead the Golden Griffins to a 68-62 win over Robert Morris Wednesday night in the Koessler Athletic Center. The win snapped the Griffs’ six-game losing skid and moves the Blue and Gold to 2-6 on the season, while the Colonials fell to 4-5 on the year with their second-straight loss.

Molson, who entered the game as the MAAC’s leading scorer, finished the night by going 4-of-10 from the floor, 1-for-4 from 3-point land and 5-for-7 from the free-throw line in the victory. He also grabbed three rebounds to go with an assist and a steal. Reese’s 10 points came on a 5-for-8 effort from the floor, and all 12 of his rebounds came off the defensive glass, as the Blue and Gold held Robert Morris to just 33.3 percent shooting for the contest. The Miami, Fla., native also dished out a game-high seven assists and recorded three steals in 32 minutes of action.

“This wasn’t picture perfect, but it was a step in the right direction,” Canisius coach Reggie Witherspoon said. “I think we have made some improvements. Some guys are still a little off with their shooting, but I believe they’ll come around.”

Sophomore forward Scott Hitchon matched a career-high with 13 points in the victory for the Griffs, while fellow sophomore forward Jalanni White chipped in eight points, which matches his career high. All nine Griffs who played in the game scored at least two points in the victory, and eight players finished the game with at least two rebounds, as Canisius out rebounded Robert Morris 37-31 for the contest.

“I think we showed that we’re making strides defensively, and we made some strides rebounding the basketball tonight as well,” Witherspoon added. “We were able to get the ball inside tonight and I thought our guys responded. We’ve been getting attacked inside a lot recently, and at some point, you have to push back because you don’t want to be a punching bag. We will look at this win tonight, and enjoy it, and keep working hard to improve as a team.”

In a game that featured 11 lead changes and four ties, the Colonials led by seven at 17-10 midway through the first half before the Griffs went on a 19-2 run over 6:11 to take a 29-19 lead. Molson, Reese and senior Jibreel Faulkner all scored four points in that scoring spurt for the home team, and Canisius went into the locker room at halftime up 31-25.

Robert Morris used a 9-2 run in the opening 1:24 of the second half to take a 34-33 lead with 18:36 left to play, but the Griffs scored the game’s next six points, capped by a bucket from Reese, to regain the lead at 39-34 with 15:26 on the clock. Neither team led by more than six points throughout most of the second half until back-to-back 3-pointers by Molson and junior Malik Johnson put the Griffs up 60-53 with 3:25 remaining. A late 6-2 run by the Colonials got the visiting team within two points at 63-61 with 55 seconds left in the contest, but three makes from the free-throw line by Molson in the game’s closing 26 seconds sealed the win for Canisius.

For Robert Morris, senior Josh Williams had a game-high 17 points, while forward Charles Bain posted 12 points in the losing effort. As a team, Canisius shot 48.9 percent from the floor and 72.0 percent from the free-throw line, with 16 of the team’s 18 makes from the line coming in the game’s second half. Canisius also won the battle in the paint on Wednesday, outscoring Robert Morris 34-20 in the lane.

This was the ninth meeting between the two programs, with Robert Morris holding a 6-3 lead in the series. Canisius, however, has won each of the last two contests.

The Griffs improved to 31-12 since the 2012-13 in games played in the month of December. Under Witherspoon, the team is 12-4 in the final month of the calendar year, with 10 of those wins coming in non-league play. The 37 rebounds for Canisius are the most this season, with 30 of those boards coming off the defensive glass.

Canisius drew multiple offensive charges for the fifth-straight game. Molson drew his team-leading sixth charge of the year in the first half. Molson extended his streak of scoring 10-or more points in a game to 11 straight, dating back to last year. Reese’s 12 boards matched his career-high, set previously at Rider Feb. 18, 2018. He also dished out seven assists for the second consecutive game. Johnson has now grabbed six rebounds in three of the team’s last four outings.

Up Next
Canisius will take time off for final exams, with the team’s next game scheduled for Dec. 16 at Elon. That game is set to tip-off at 2 p.m., and the radio call can be heard on WECK-Radio Buffalo, and the TuneIn app.

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