- Aidan Joly
Late free throws hand Canisius second straight win
Updated: Jan 28, 2022
For the second time in three days, a Canisius game went down to the final possession and the Griffs came out with a win.
This time, it was the defense that stepped up in the clutch as the Griffs defeated St. Peter’s at the Koessler Athletic Center on Sunday, 63–60.
The Griffs came into the second half trailing by one after a slow finish to the first half, a half in which they led by as many as 11. For most of the second half, St. Peter’s had the upper hand, but the Griffs took the lead on a few occasions before it went back-and-forth for the final seven minutes.
With 1:47 to play, Scott Hitchon hit a three to make it 61–60 in favor of Canisius. St. Peter’s got the ball with 23 seconds to play after Ahamadou Fofana missed the front end of a one-and-one, but the defense forced St. Peter’s forward KC Ndefo into a traveling violation with 7.7 seconds left. Then, Fofana hit a pair of free throws to make it a three-point game. St. Peter’s never got a good shot off in the final possession, sealing the Griffs’ second straight win.
“I work on free throws every day, and after missing that first one, it was just on to the next play. Can’t stay too long on that one because we have to get a huge stop, so I let that one past me quick,” Fofana said.
Before the final possessions, it was Jordan Henderson who came up with big shots. He hit a trio of three-pointers, all coming in the second half as part of a 14-point, 5–7 shooting day.
“Everybody had confidence in me, just telling me to take the open shot. It gives me confidence when I feed off of everybody else,” Henderson said.
St. Peter’s came into the game on a four-game winning streak and was 5–1 in MAAC play. The Peacocks’ depth is a major theme of the team. St. Peter’s played 11 players on Sunday with nobody playing more than 33 minutes and only one playing more than 28. They also did it while being out-rebounded 42–28.
“It becomes difficult on the opponent. We’re looking around and three guys are coming in, the assistant coaches are trying to get guys matched up, then that guy comes out and another guy comes in. And the players have to know that, too,” head coach Reggie Witherspoon said. “As the game went on, that began to happen for us.”
The win improves the Griffs to 3–5 in MAAC play and 7–12 overall as they head into a three-game road trip to face Monmouth, Rider and Siena. They leave Buffalo on a five-game home winning streak.
“The weekend has been huge, because you don’t get any breaks; the next opponent you get is going to have really good players and a really good coach,” Witherspoon said. “Going on the road, all of these things we did okay today — we got to do them much better on the road.”