Griffs fall in clunker to Cornell
Graduate student Scott Hitchon had a season-high 16 points in the Griffs' loss on Monday. (Canisius Athletics/GoGriffs)
After a slow start, Canisius men’s basketball was never able to turn it around as it fell to Cornell on Monday night at the Koessler Athletic Center, 89-75.
The Griffs found themselves down double digits within the first seven minutes of the game and were never really competitive, unable to keep up with Cornell’s up-tempo offense, which is the ninth-fastest in the country per KenPom and has the quickest average possession length in the country. This led the Griffs to trail by 16 at halftime and fall behind by as many as 27 during the second half.
“It’s a very difficult thing to prepare a team for, unless you have a scout team that plays that fast, but they played fast enough that you could see it on video and we tried a number of things,” Canisius head coach Reggie Witherspoon said. “But they did an extraordinary job.”
That fast pace allowed the Big Red to score transition points in a hurry and get easy shots, which was something that they did all game. Cornell shot 61.8% from the field for the game and only missed nine shots the entirety of the second half. 46 of the team’s 89 points came from in the paint.
“I know our guys are somewhat tired,” Cornell head coach Brian Earl said. “I’m sure on the other side of the ball that they’re feeling it as well. I hope when we get to the offseason some of the coaches will tell me how their guys were, but I don’t think they’re going to tell me now.”
In the second half Canisius did make a little bit of a run, scoring the ball a little more consistently and got the deficit down to 12 on two separate occasions, but they were never able to truly make it a game.
“It was a combination of us not imposing our will, but a lot of it was them not letting that happen. They play fast, they play with a great deal of intensity,” Witherspoon said. “They didn’t have a lot of moments where they weren’t going forward aggressively. Most of what they did, they were going forward with it and when that happens, it’s hard to get out of a hole.”
The Griffs were led by Malek Green, who finished with 19 points and seven rebounds. Scott Hitchon had 16 on the night, a season-high for him, while Jordan Henderson had 10.
As the Griffs fall to 2-5 on the season, they will open up MAAC play on Friday night with a home game against Fairfield, before facing Monmouth on Sunday afternoon, giving the Griffs their first two chances to see fellow league teams.
“I think we’re going to keep our eye on Fairfield for now and take it one game at a time,” Witherspoon said. “We’ve got to try to just focus on the next game.”