Second-half turnovers doom Canisius in loss to Rider

Courtesy of GoGriffs.com

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Rider redshirt-sophomore Frederick Scott scored all of his game-high 22 points in the second half and the visiting Broncs forced Canisius into 13 second half turnovers en route to an 82-73 come-from-behind win over the Golden Griffins Friday night in the Koessler Athletic Center. The win moves Rider to 8-7 overall and 3-0 in MAAC play, while Canisius slipped to 5-10 overall and 2-1 in conference action.

Scott was one of four Rider players to record double-digits in the scoring column with his 22 points. He also added five rebounds, two assists and a steal in 17 minutes of action after being sent to the bench midway through the first half with early foul trouble. Graduate student Anthony Durham and junior Stevie Jordan posted 14 points apiece in the victory, while junior Tyere Marshall added 11 points and eight rebounds to the winning cause. The Broncs ended the night by shooting 51.7 percent from the field, highlighted by a 63.0 percent effort in the game’s second half, and won the contest despite making just one 3-point field, which came in the game’s opening 20 minutes of play.

“Give Rider credit, they changed the pace of the game in the second half and we didn’t respond,” Canisius head coach Reggie Witherspoon said. “We didn’t keep our poise and our composure and they forced us into too many turnovers. They pressed us a little bit in the first half, but we were moving the basketball and making shots.”

For Canisius, junior Isaiah Reese scored a season-high 21 points to go with eight rebounds, four assists and four steals. Sophomore Takal Molson added 19 points and five boards and senior Marcale Lotts chipped in six points and four rebounds off the bench as the Blue and Gold shot 41.8 percent from the field, 37.9 percent from 3-point range and just 54.5 percent from the charity stripe.

Canisius jumped out to an early 14-point lead with 5:28 left to play in the first half and the Griffs went into the locker room at halftime up 41-30. In the second half, Rider cranked up the full-court pressure, forcing Canisius into 13 turnovers, which the Broncs turned into 18 points.

“But if you have the basketball and you don’t get shots, and you have live-ball turnovers, you are not going to be able to get your defense set,” Witherspoon said. “So that lets them get easy shots and now they’re setting up their press. It starts with us. Typically, your defense will help you get a lead, but your offense has to be good to keep that lead.”

A jumper by Reese from just outside the paint made the score 53-40 in favor of the Griffs with 14:14 left in regulation time, but the Broncs answered with a 14-0 run over the game’s next 3:09 to take a 53-52 lead, the Broncs’ first lead since the scoreboard read 15-12 in their favor at the 14:48 mark of the first half. Rider stretched its lead to 63-59 with 5:11 left to play, but back-to-back buckets from Reese and Molson knotted the game at 63-63 with 3:45 showing on the clock. Rider took the lead for good with 3:11 left as Scott made three free-throws out of the game’s final media timeout after he was fouled attempting a long-range triple as the shot clock dwindled down. Those three free-throws started a 10-0 run for the Broncs, which put the game out of reach for Canisius, which was never able to get any closer than five points on the scoreboard in the closing minute of the contest.

 Friday marked the 49th all-time meeting between Canisius and Rider, with the Broncs leading the series 36-13. The loss to Rider is just Canisius’s fourth MAAC loss in its last 21 league games, dating back to the start of conference play last season.

The Griffs made 11 3-point field goals in the losing effort, the 70th time the team has made 10-or more 3-pointers in a game since the start of the 2012-13 campaign. Reese’s 21-point performance was his second 20-point effort this season and the 13th of his career. With four steals in the game, Reese moved past former Griffs Darnell Wilson and Kevin Downey on the school’s career steals list. He now ranks eighth all-time with 148 steals to his credit.

Molson has scored in double-figures in all 15 games this season and in 19-straight games, dating back to the end of last year. The six points for Lotts is a season-high and fell one point shy of matching his career best, set Dec. 9, 2017 at Evansville. Junior Malik Johnson matched a season-high with eight boards and dished out five assists. He now has 345 career assists to his credit, which ranks him 10th all-time in program history. Freshman Jordan Henderson had a career-high three assists in the loss, as the Griffs ended the night with 18 assists, which matches a season high.

Up Next
Canisius will close out its three-game homestand on Sunday when the team hosts Iona in the Koessler Athletic Center on Police Athletic League Day. Game time is set for 2 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN3, with the radio call available on WECK-Radio Buffalo, GoGriffs.com and the TuneIn app.

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