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Griffs fall to Fairfield in MAAC opener

Armon Harried had a team-high 18 points, but the Griffs lost to Fairfield in Friday's MAAC opener (Canisius Athletics/GoGriffs)

A slow start to the second half doomed Canisius men’s basketball as it fell to Fairfield in Friday’s MAAC opener at the Koessler Athletic Center, 74-68.

The Griffs went into the second half only down one, but a 13-2 Fairfield run within the first five minutes of the second half put Canisius down 50-38 and they were never able to recover from there. They got to within four points in the final minute of the game, but it was not enough.

“I just think we didn’t get enough stops,” Canisius head coach Reggie Witherspoon said. “If we don’t get stops, we can’t win. That’s just the bottom line. We have to be able to string together some stops.”

Many of those Fairfield baskets came easily as 42 of the Stags’ 74 points came in the paint and as a team, they shot 51.7% from the field. As for the Griffs, just 24 of their points came in the paint and shot 40.7% for the night.

“We can’t give them offensive rebounds; we can’t give them deep post position and we can’t give them blow-by’s. They got all of those,” Witherspoon said.

The first half was closer than the second half, a first 20 minutes that included 10 ties and six lead changes with the Griffs having the lead for nearly 13 minutes. The first half was led by Armon Harried, who had 14 points in the first half but just four in the second half. He finished with a team-high 18 points.

“I just have to do better personally and just do more on both sides on the floor,” Harried said. “Points, that’s fine, but we have to get stops on defense.”

Harried was one of three Griffs in double figures as Jordan Henderson had 16 points and Akrum Ahemed had 11. Fairfield was led by Jesus Cruz, who had 16 points off the bench, while Caleb Green had 14 and Allan Jeanne-Rose had 13.

Foul trouble became a key part of the game as the Griffs had issues with it all game. They had three players with foul fouls and another pair with three. Scott Hitchon was one of those players with four, picking up all of them in the first half and did not play in the second half.

“We did some things differently, so defensively we played some zone, we double-teamed some guys and we substituted and played a lot of guys. But, it certainly impacted the game,” Witherspoon said.

The Griffs fall to 2-6 on the season heading into its second MAAC game of the season on Sunday. The Griffs will face Monmouth at 1 p.m. at the Koessler Athletic Center.

Witherspoon said, “I fully expect them to be a really good team that will be difficult to play against.”

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