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Harried game-winner lifts Griffs past Rider

Cardiac Griffs?

That was very well what Canisius men’s basketball could be called after its win on Friday, defeating Rider 70-69 at the Koessler Athletic Center on a floating game-winner from Armon Harried that snapped a three-game losing streak.

The Griffs got the ball with 19 seconds on the clock, down one after a tie-up that ended in Rider sending the ball out of bounds. With six seconds left, Jordan Henderson passed the ball from the wing to Harried at the top of the key, who drove to the basket for a split second before softly floating the ball from just off to the right of the free-throw line. The ball fell in and gave the Griffs the lead for good with 2.2 seconds left. An ensuing half-court heave from Rider’s Nehemiah Benson did not come close.

“I passed it to [Jordan] to try to run a play then I got the ball back. When I had the ball I wasn’t looking to shoot it at first, I was looking to move it again, but then I looked at the clock and I saw that maybe the best chance was to get to the basket… glad I made it,” Harried said.

Before that though, the Griffs trailed by four, 69-65, with under a minute to play before Henderson hit a corner three to cut the deficit to one. That was indicative of the entire second half, which saw neither team lead by more than five points in the entire second half. It was even on the stat sheet the entire game as Canisius shot 43.4% for the night to Rider’s 41.8%, Rider winning the rebounding battle just 41-37 and Canisius forcing nine turnovers while Rider forced eight. The game featured 10 ties and 15 lead-changes as well. Six of those lead changes came in the final four minutes.

“The thing about it was there wasn’t a lot of transition fast breaks,” Canisius head coach Reggie Witherspoon said. “You make a mistake, they score. I’m sure they felt the same way about us… seems like we’ve had a couple of those where we were down four in the last minute. We got some really good looks.”

Dwight Murray Jr. was the one who came up big for Rider all night, finishing with 27 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists. He had to be the one to do it as Mervin James and Ajiri Ogemuno-Johnson both fouled out of the game in the second half, a pair that combined for 20 points on the night.

However, Murray Jr. was not to be out-done by Scott Hitchon, who finished with 21 points and six rebounds and came up with key plays on defense. Hitchon has taken a big step up for the Griffs as of late and has taken a role as a leader too. He said that a team meeting following a loss to St. Peter’s this past Tuesday motivated him and the entire team. After this win, which improved them to 2-5 in league play, will propel them to more wins, starting with that same St. Peter’s team this Sunday.

“I knew a few things weren’t working out and I wasn’t happy, so I just said to myself that I had to give it my all in practice and give it all the effort I can,” Hitchon said. “Things will fall into place.”

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