Courtesy of GoGriffs.com
The Canisius men’s basketball team trailed Saint Peter’s 68-63 with 2:48 left to play, but the Golden Griffins scored the game’s final nine points in the closing 2:12 to earn a 72-68 victory at the Yanitelli Center in Jersey City, N.J. Sunday afternoon. The win, which snapped the Blue and Gold’s six-game losing streak, moves Canisius to 6-10 overall and 1-4 in MAAC play, while the Peacocks fell to 5-8 overall and 2-2 with the loss.
Junior Majesty Brandon (Monroe CC) came off the bench to score 14 points, with five of those points coming in the final 2:12 of the contest. Trailing 68-63, Brandon trimmed the Saint Peter’s lead to 68-65 with a jumper in the lane off a pass from teammate Malik Johnson. Sophomore Jordan Hendersonmade it a one-point game with 1:15 left on the clock on a fast-break lay-up. After freshman Jacco Fritz took a charge to get the Griffs the ball back, Johnson drew a foul on his way to the basket and promptly made two free-throws with 37 seconds left to put Canisius ahead 69-68.
Out of a Saint Peter’s timeout, junior Scott Hitchon blocked a shot with 19 seconds left in the game, and the Peacocks fouled Brandon to stop the clock. He hit both of those charity tosses to give Canisius a three-point lead at 71-68 with 17.9 seconds left, and moments later, Brandon sealed the win for Canisius after he made a free-throw with six seconds left to play.
Johnson led all scorers with 15 points to go with nine rebounds and five assists, while Brandon grabbed three rebounds and a steal in 31 minutes of action. Henderson scored 11 points and matched a career-high with five assists in the win, while Hitchon posted 10 points, eight of which came in the second half, and four rebounds. For the game, Canisius shot 48.0 percent from the floor, 27.8 percent from 3-point land and 65.5 percent from the free-throw line in the victory and the Griffs out-rebounded Saint Peter’s 35-29.
Saint Peter’s had three players post double-figures in the scoring column, led by Doug Edert, who scored a team-high 13 points. The Peacocks shot 45.3 percent from the field, 36.4 percent from 3-point and 61.5 percent from the free-throw line.
Head Coach Reggie Witherspoon’s Postgame Comments
“Defensively, we were committing a lot of fouls, but we didn’t panic down the stretch when we got down five. I thought our communication was really good. We got some help late because we were shooting free-throws, and that allowed us to huddle up and make sure everyone knew their assignments. That helped us recognize our situations and we were able to draw two big charges and we got that blocked shot.”
“On offense late, we kept our composure and we played within ourselves. We executed really well and we didn’t force the issue by taking bad shots.”
• Sunday was the 82nd all-time meeting between the two Jesuit schools, with Canisius holding a 47-35 lead in the series. Canisius has now beaten Saint Peter’s in four-straight games since the 2017 MAAC Championship quarterfinal round game.
- Sunday’s victory marks the first time this season where the Griffs trailed with 5:00 left in the game and came back to win.
• The win for Reggie Witherspoon was his 60th as the head coach at Canisius, making him the 11th head coach in school history to reach that milestone.
• Johnson became just the fifth player in school history to start in 115 career games.
- Henderson matched a career-high with three steals on the day.
- Hitchon’s three blocked shots also matched a career-high. In five MAAC games, the Whitby, Ontario native is averaging 1.4 blocks per contest.
Canisius will return home on Friday, Jan. 17, when the Griffs play host to Siena at the Koessler Athletic Center. That game, which will be presented by Anderson’s, will tip-off at 7 p.m., and will be broadcast live on ESPN+. The radio call will be available through WECK Buffalo Radio (1230-AM, 100.5-FM and 102.9-FM) and GoGriffs.com.