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Griffs earn first conference win

A 20-day layoff between games did not bother the Griffs.

In its first game since December 22 due to COVID issues in the program, Canisius men’s basketball earned its third win in a row and first MAAC victory of the season, defeating Quinnipiac 79-67 on Tuesday afternoon at the Koessler Athletic Center.

The Griffs jumped out to an early lead, hitting 10 of the first 15 shots that they took from the field to pull out to a double-digit lead within the first 10 minutes of the game. They did more of the same through the rest of the first half, capping off the first 20 minutes with Jordan Henderson hitting an off-balance three at the buzzer to send the Griffs into the locker room up 14, 38-24.

“When I grabbed it, I looked at the time and made sure I stayed composed to find a good shot to finish it off,” Henderson said.

Henderson was a key force for the Griffs all afternoon, finishing with 18 points, seven of them coming in the first half. He was one of three Griffs who finished with at least 18 points on the afternoon. Armon Harried finished with a team-leading 21 points, while Ahamadou Fofana had another 18.

“It was great because they moved the ball well. I think the other guys who weren’t necessarily scoring moved the ball and when that happens, you get rhythm shots. We didn’t just get stuck on the perimeter but we certainly lined up some of those pretty nicely, too,” Canisius head coach Reggie Witherspoon said.

Henderson added, “It felt good. Everything just came natural for the three of us, especially when we were moving the ball and everything just comes natural. It feels good for all of us to eat and all of us to do well, especially when we get a win.”

A big part of why the Griffs played as well as they did was limiting Quinnipiac’s three-point shooting. The Bobcats came into the game hitting nearly 35% of their three-pointers all season and the Griffs limited them to just 3-23 from behind the arc. By comparison, the Griffs shot 8-24 from three.

“We wanted to be able to play them before they catch it, because sometimes they can catch it with you right on them and still knock them down,” Witherspoon said. “I think for the most part, we were there… it was a big part of our game plan.”

Overall, the Griffs shot 48% from the field as a team and also went 13-16 on free throws.

Quinnipiac was led by JJ Riggins’ 15 points, while Brendan McGuire had 14.

The Griffs earned their first MAAC win of the season and now sit 1-2 in the league, while improving to 5-9 overall after a slow start. They will next play at Niagara on Thursday night in Lewiston, a gauntlet stretch where, including Tuesday, the Griffs will play six games in 13 days.

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