Late run puts nail in coffin as Griffs fall in season opener
By Aidan Joly, Editor-in-Chief
Despite sticking around for most of the game, Miami’s defense and a star performance from Kameron McGusty proved to be too much for men’s basketball as it fell to the Hurricanes 77-67 in Tuesday night’s season opener in Coral Gables, Fla.
Canisius hung around with Miami in the first half, trailing by six at the break. Early in the second half they had cut the deficit to as little as two and had it at four, 50-46, with just over 13 minutes to play.
There was when the Hurricanes took over. They went on a 17-4 run over the next six and a half minutes to give themselves a 67-50 lead and did not look back from there. That run was led by Miami’s Anthony Walker, who had seven points during that run and finished with 14 on the night, one of four Hurricanes in double figures. McGusty was the guy all night for Miami, scoring 20 points on 8-14 shooting including making a quartet of three-pointers.
The theme of the night for the Griffs was that seemingly every time they got within one or two possessions; Miami would score much-needed points to get themselves back in control. One example of this came late in the first half when Canisius had it within five, but McGusty hit a three with 20 seconds on the clock to get it back to eight, before it ended up being a six-point deficit after the opening 20 minutes.
The 17-4 run in the second half included an 11-1 run within it.
“I think we turned the ball over far too many times in the second half and it felt like those turnovers came in some critical points,” head coach Reggie Witherspoon said. “Defensively, we had some breakdowns where we just lost our focus and awareness and you can’t do that against a team like Miami and expect to win.”
Another key factor in the Griffs’ losing was going just 14-24 from the free throw line.
“We didn’t make enough free throws,” Witherspoon said.
The Griffs were led by Malek Green’s 21 points on 7-11 shooting, he also had eight rebounds. Armon Harried chipped in 11 points and Akrum Ahemed had 10, a new career-high for him.
“We saw some of what we’re hoping for from Malek, but we need some more of him and from some other guys as well. Offensively, we were a little hesitant at times and they were not and that was probably one of the bigger factors in the game,” Witherspoon said.
Off to an 0-1 start for the fifth time in seven years, the Griffs will continue their road trip on Friday night as they face East Carolina in Greenville, N.C., before playing nationally-ranked St. Bonaventure on Sunday night in Allegany.