Canisius falls to Brown in season opener

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Brown University used an 18-0 run over the span of 4:45 early in the second half to jump out to a big lead, and Brown senior guard Brandon Anderson sealed the victory for the home team with 25 of his game-high 32 points after intermission, as the Bears defeated Canisius 75-68 Saturday evening in Providence, R.I.

With the win, Brown moves to 2-0 on the season, while the Golden Griffins start the 116th season in school history at 0-1.

Canisius senior Malik Johnson led the way offensively for the Blue and Gold, as he scored a career-high 24 points to go along with nine rebounds, five assists and four steals in 40 minutes of action. Fellow senior Corey Brown added 10 points and four rebounds in his first game as a Griff, while fellow newcomer Majesty Brandon was good for seven points and three boards. For the game, Canisius shot 39.6 percent from the field, 37.5 percent from 3-point land and 83.3 percent from the free-throw line in the losing effort.

Anderson, who scored his 1,000th career point midway through the second half, went 8-for-16 from the floor with four 3-point field goals to go along with 12 makes at the charity stripe for his 32 points. Fellow guard Zach Hunsicker added 15 points while forward Tamenang Choh posted 10 points and 11 rebounds in the winning effort for the Bears. For the game, Brown shot 42.6 percent from the floor, 33.3 percent from behind the arc and 76 percent from the free-throw line.

Canisius trailed Brown 31-29 at halftime, and the Griffs took a one-point lead at 32-31 just 25 seconds into the second stanza after freshman Akrum Ahemed drained a 3-pointer from the wing. That basket, however, would end up being the Griffs’ final field goal for the next 6:32, as Brown took advantage of six Canisius turnovers to jump out to a 51-32 lead with 13:57 left to play.

The host Bears held a double-digit lead over the Griffs for more than 10 minutes before the Blue and Gold worked themselves back into the contest. A driving lay-up by Johnson with 4:26 left on the clock made the score 58-52 in favor of Brown, and with 2:10 left on the clock, freshman Jacco Fritz hit a pair from the line to make the score 61-58 in favor of the home team. But that would be as close as the Griffs would get for the rest of the contest, as Anderson, Hunsicker and David Mitchell combined to make five free-throws in the span of 32 seconds to seal the victory for the Bears.


Head Coach Reggie Witherspoon’s Postgame Comments
“We got in a situation where we had to have guys make adjustments on the fly, and those guys have never really been in that type of situation before. I thought we were better defensively in the second half against the action that Brown runs, but we had a couple of breakdowns and they were able to make some threes and draw fouls to get themselves to the line.”

“We have a lot of new guys, and a few of those guys had to play a lot because we got into some early foul trouble. We had two freshmen play 30-plus minutes, and another played 25. That wasn’t the plan going in, but when we got in that early foul trouble, it forced us to change up the rotation a bit.”

“We got way down there for a while, but I’m pleased with the fight we showed to get back into the game. We’ve got some things we need to work on, but the effort was there. Now we need to work on taking care of the basketball.”

Game Notes
• Saturday was the eighth all-time meeting between the two schools, with Canisius leading the series 5-3.

  • The Griffs opened the season on the road for the fifth-straight season.
    • Malik Johnson made his 100th career start on Saturday, which is every Canisius game since the start of the 2016-17 campaign. He is just the 10th player in school history to start 100 games in his career.
    • Johnson’s 24-point effort marks the third time in his career where he’s scored 20-or-more points in a game, and he now has distributed five-or-more assists 51 times.
  • Jacco Fritz had six rebounds in his first career game, with four of those coming off the offensive glass.
    • Five players made their first career appearance for the Griffs in the game, including freshman Armon Harried, who had four points, an assist and a steal in 30 minutes of action.

Up Next
Canisius will return to action Wednesday, Nov. 13, when the team travels to play at Albany, with tip-off set for 7 p.m. That game will be broadcast live on ESPN+ and the radio call will also be available through WECK Buffalo Radio (1230-AM, 100.5-FM and 102.9-FM).

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