Canisius grinds out MAAC road win at Marist

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POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. — Three Canisius players scored in double-figures, led by sophomore Takal Molson and his team-high 19 points, and senior Jibreel Faulkner added a career-high 18 points off the bench, as the Golden Griffins went on the road and scored a 75-72 win over Marist Thursday night at the McCann Arena in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. The win in the conference opener moves Canisius to 4-8 overall and 1-0 in MAAC play, while the Red Foxes fell to 5-8 overall and 0-1 in conference action.

The win in the MAAC opener is Canisius’ seventh straight, dating back to the 2012-13 season. The Blue and Gold, who led by as many as nine points midway through the first half, secured the win after the team forced Marist to take a wild 3-point shot with the clock winding down that would have tied the game and sent the contest into overtime.

“We overcame some things tonight as a team and earned a gritty win on the road,” Canisius head coach Reggie Witherspoon said. “Obviously, we want to shoot better from the free-throw line better in late-game situations, but we were still able to close it out.”

Molson scored his 19 points after he went 5-for-16 from the floor and 8-for-12 from the free-throw line. He also added four rebounds and a block to his final stat line. Faulkner’s 18 points came on the power of a career-high four makes from 3-point range. He was also good for two boards and two assists. Fellow senior Jonathan Sanks scored 10 points off the bench for the Griffs as well, as Canisius ended the night shooting 41.0 percent from the field, 31.3 percent from 3-point land and 60 percent from the free-throw line.

“I thought we did some really good things tonight, things we’ve been working on all season,” Witherspoon added. “We did an excellent job rebounding the basketball, and we really moved the ball well, which set us up for some good shots. We took care of the ball in the second half as well with just five turnovers. I thought the effort we got off the bench was really important for us tonight. This is a good team road win a place that isn’t easy to play in.”

For Marist, senior Isaiah Lamb scored a game-high 21 points, with 15 of those points coming in the game’s first 20 minutes. He was also credited with nine rebounds and two steals. Senior Brian Parker added 19 points to the losing cause for the Red Foxes, who shot 46.0 percent from the field, 40.7 percent from 3-point range and 68.2 percent from the charity stripe.

With the score tied at 61-61, Canisius used a 6-1 run in 1:42 to take a 67-62 lead with 3:20 left in the contest. In that run, which was started by a jumper by Sanks, sophomore Scott Hitchon added a bucket and Faulkner capped the scoring spurt with a lay-up off an assist from junior Isaiah Reese. Reese finished the night with nine points, a season-high eight assists and seven boards to go with two steals in 35 minutes of action.

A 3-pointer by Reese with 58 seconds left to play put the Griffs up eight at 74-66, but Marist answered on its next trip down the floor when Parker drilled a trey from the top of the key with 48 seconds left in regulation time. After Reese hit on one-of-two free-throw chances to make the score 75-69 with 46 seconds remaining, Marist again answered with 3-pointer, cutting the Griffs’ cushion to 75-72 with 23 ticks left. Canisius missed a pair of free-throws with 17 seconds to allow the Red Foxes a chance to tie the game late, but the Blue and Gold’s defense locked down Marist on the perimeter, forcing Darius Hines to force a shot with four seconds. That attempt banged off the side-iron, and junior Malik Johnson raced in to grab the defensive rebound as the final horn sounded.

Canisius ended the night with a 39-29 advantage in the rebounding battle, with 16 of those rebounds coming off the offensive glass, 10 in the second half. The Griffs, who were credited with 18 assists on 25 field goal makes, turned 13 Marist turnovers into 22 points, while turning the ball over 12 times themselves. Of Canisius’ 12 turnovers, five came in the second half, and the Blue and Gold did not commit a turnover for the game’s final 9:12.

Thursday was the 49th all-time meeting between these two teams, with Canisius holding a 31-18 advantage in the series. The plus-10 rebounding margin for the Griffs on Thursday is a season-best, and Canisius improved to 24-8 since the start of the 2016-17 season when out rebounding its opponent.

In the last three games, Canisius is averaging 14.7 offensive rebounds per game. Every Canisius player who was on the floor for more than five minutes on Thursday had at least one offensive rebound. Molson extended his streak of scoring in double-figures to 16-straight games, dating back to last season. His 12 trips to the free-throw line Thursday marked the third time in the team’s last four games where he’s had 10-or more free-throw chances in a game. Faulkner now has 10 3-point field goal makes in the team’s last four games. Senior Marcale Lotts grabbed a season-high six rebounds, five of which were offensive boards.

Up Next
Canisius will close out its first weekend of MAAC play on Saturday, when the team travels to play at Siena at Times Union Center in Albany, N.Y. Game time is set for 7 p.m. That contest will be broadcast on ESPN3, with the radio call available on WECK-Radio Buffalo, and the TuneIn app.

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