Courtesy of GoGriffs.com
BUFFALO, N.Y. — The visiting Marist Red Foxes outscored Canisius 30-10 through the final 5:56 of regulation and the overtime period to earn a 78-71 victory Monday night at the Koessler Athletic Center. The win moves Marist to 9-14 overall and 4-7 in league play, while the Golden Griffins slipped to 9-13 overall and 6-4 in conference action.
Canisius led 61-48 with 5:56 left to play after a lay-up by sophomore Scott Hitchon. From there, the Red Foxes mounted their comeback, using a 14-0 run over the span of 2:36 to take a 62-61 lead with 1:36 left in regulation time. In that run, Marist hit four-straight 3-point field goals, with Matt Herasme’s trey from the left wing off an assist from teammate Aleksandar Dozic putting the Red Foxes in the lead for the first time since the 13:24 mark of the second half. An alley-oop slam by senior Jibreel Faulkner off a feed from junior Malik Johnson put the Blue and Gold back up one at 63-62 with 55.8 seconds left, but Marist’s David Knudsen drilled another 3-pointer on the Red Foxes next trip down the floor to give Marist a 65-63 advantage with 36.3 seconds remaining on the clock.
“Give them credit, they persevered,” Canisius head coach Reggie Witherspoon said of his squad’s opponent. “We didn’t. We did not take good enough care of the basketball in the second half. It was a hard-fought game, and it wasn’t pretty. We didn’t take care of the basketball and they persevered.”
Canisius was able to force overtime after Faulkner scored in the paint off an offensive rebound to knot the game at 65-65. Marist had a chance to win the game in regulation, but Canisius defense locked down the Red Foxes and the game went to overtime, the Griffs’ second overtime contest of the season.
In the extra session, Dozic and Knudsen combined to score four-straight points to give Marist the 69-65 lead. A pair of free-throw makes by Canisius’ Takal Molson cut the Marist cushion to 69-67, but the Red Foxes would go on to hit four-straight free-throws over the next 16 seconds to stretch their lead to 73-67 with 39.1 seconds remaining. In the overtime, Canisius shot just 2-of-9 from the field and turned the ball over three times, while Marist went just 2-for-5 from the floor but connected on 9-of-10 free-throws to seal the victory.
“It is tough to lose a game like this, when you have a 13-point lead with 5:56 left to play,” Witherspoon added. “We didn’t take advantage of a couple of offensive possessions and they capitalized. You have to have enough discipline to keep doing the things that are working. But if you get runover with adrenaline, and you start to rush things, poise goes out the window and you open the door for your opponent.”
Dozic scored a team-high 17 points in the win for Marist, the team’s first win in the Koessler Athletic Center since the 2014-15 campaign. Knudsen added 15 points with 13 of those coming in the game’s final 8:15. Marist shot 48.2 percent from the floor, 33.3 percent from 3-point land and 88.9 percent from the free-throw line in the victory, with five of the team’s eight 3-point field goals coming in the closing eight-plus minutes of the night.
For Canisius, Johnson and Molson each had 19 points, with Johnson posting nine rebounds, seven assists and two steals. Faulkner scored eight points to go with six rebounds for the Griffs, who shot 42.4 percent from the field, 23.1 percent from 3-point range and 93.8 percent from the charity stripe. Canisius out-rebounded Marist 32-31, and the Blue and Gold turned 11 Marist turnovers into 18 points on the night.
Canisius trailed Marist 46-43 with 13:49 left in regulation time before the Griffs went on an 18-2 run over the span of 7:28 to take the lead at 61-48. In that run, which was started by a jumper from freshman Jordan Henderson, Molson scored seven points, Johnson added four, Faulkner had a bucket and so did Hitchon. However, Hitchon’s basket at the 5:56 mark of the second half ended up being the Griffs’ final field goal for 5:01, when Faulkner pounded down the alley-oop feed from Johnson to put the Griffs back up one at 63-62.
This was the 50th all-time meeting between the two programs, with Canisius holding a 31-19 lead in the all-time series. This was the second time Canisius and Marist went to overtime, with each team having one win in that portion of the series. The game featured 14 lead changes and eight ties.
Monday marked the first time Canisius has shot over 90 percent from the free-throw line in a game since Dec. 22, 2016 at St. Bonaventure. Johnson has now scored in double-figures in three-straight games, and he’s averaging 8.3 assists per game in those three contests. Johnson’s two steals in the loss gives him multiple steals in game 13 times this season. Molson has scored 10-plus points in 21 of the team’s 22 games this year, which leads the team.
Canisius will start a two-game road swing in the state of New Jersey on Friday, Feb. 8, when the Griffs travel to play at league-leading Rider. Game time in Lawrenceville, N.J., is set for 7 p.m That contest will be broadcast live on ESPNU, with the radio call available on WECK-Radio Buffalo, GoGriffs.com and the TuneIn app.