Courtesy of GoGriffs.com
Hofstra scored 22 points off 16 Canisius turnovers and the Pride ended the game with 25-second chance points en route to a 64-57 win over Canisius Monday afternoon in the championship game of the Naismith Bracket at the Boca Raton Beach Classic in Boca Raton, Fla. The win moves Hofstra to 6-3 on the season, while the Golden Griffins, who saw their four-game win streak end with the loss, slipped to 4-3 on the year.
Three Canisius players scored in double-figures in the loss, led by freshman Armon Harried, who posted a team-high 15 points to go with three rebounds, three steals and two assists. Senior Malik Johnson and junior Scott Hitchon each had 12 points in the loss, with Johnson grabbing a team-high seven boards to go with three assists and two steals in 40 minutes of play. For the game, Canisius shot 38.9 percent from the floor and 26.3 percent from 3-point land, but the Pride ended the contest holding a 44-33 advantage on the glass.
Canisius came out of the locker room at halftime trailing 28-26, but the Griffs used a 15-6 run in the opening 4:48 of the second stanza to take a seven-point lead at 41-34. In that run, Harried scored eight points, including two 3-point field goals. That, however, would be the Griffs’ largest lead of the game, as Hofstra fought back with a 14-7 run over the game’s next 5:23 to knot the game at 48-48.
From there, Hofstra guard Tareq Coburn would score seven of the Pride’s next nine points to help Hofstra take a 57-50 lead with 3:22 left in the game. Hofstra would lead by as many as 10 points with 2:29 left on the clock before back-to-back scores by Johnson and Hitchon cut the Pride’s cushion to six at 60-54 with 1:01 left to play. Down the stretch, Hofstra guard Desure Buie hit four free-throws in the final 1:00 to seal the victory and the Naismith Bracket trophy for the Pride.
Buie ended the night with 19 points to go with a game-high six assists for Hofstra, while Coburn added 18 points and 11 rebounds. Eli Pemberton also recorded a double-double for Hofstra with 16 points and 10 rebounds as the Pride shot 36.1 percent from the field, 26.7 percent from 3-point land and 94.1 percent (16-for-17) from the free-throw line.
Head Coach Reggie Witherspoon’s Postgame Comments
“Today was the first time we really saw an aggressive zone defense, and it caused us some issues, especially because with the quick turnaround in this tournament, we weren’t able to get in any practice time or have a walk-thru. With that said, I thought we came out of the locker room to start the second half and we really played well at both ends before our offense got stagnant.”
“When you’re in a grind-it-out type of game like today was, you need to be ready to defend and rebound the basketball. I thought we were up to the defensive challenge, we held a team that averages close to 85 points a game to 64, but we just didn’t do a good enough job on the backboards.”
“I think it’s good that we played in this type of an event, where you play back-to-back games on short prep time and rest. It replicates what happens in March, where guys need to really be locked in mentally in film and scouting reports, and then trust their abilities on the floor when it is game time. I think we did a good job of being prepared, we just didn’t execute cleanly on enough possession today to win the game.”
• Monday marked the fifth meeting between these two programs, with Hofstra having won all five games.
• Canisius’ four blocked shots were a season high for the team.
• With his two steals in the game, Johnson moved into eighth place on the school’s career steals list.
- Johnson was named to the Boca Raton All-Tournament Team after he averaged 14 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.0 steals per game in contests against Mercer and Stetson.
• The 12 points for Hitchon stand as a season-high.
Canisius will close out its trip to Boca Raton, Fla., on Wednesday, when the Griffs take on FAU in the Griffs’ final on-campus game of the Boca Raton Beach Classic. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. That game will be streamed through CUSA.tv, and the radio call will be available through WECK Buffalo Radio (1230-AM, 100.5-FM and 102.9-FM).