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  • Colin Richey

Men's Basketball drops season opener to Syracuse

By Colin Richey, Assistant Sports Editor

On Wednesday, the Griffs traveled to Syracuse to take on the Orange for their first game of the season. A strong first half from Syracuse gave enough cushion to secure the win despite a much closer second half.

Leading 22–19 with 8:15 remaining in the opening half, Syracuse went on a 7–1 run over the next two minutes to extend their lead. At the end of the first half, the Griffs trailed 41–32. Canisius shot 46.4% from the field in the first half, but the team was just two for nine on shots from three-point range.

Canisius rallied to start the second half, cutting the lead to just five points with a score of 45–40. However, this would be the closest the Griffs got to the lead, as the Orange pushed their lead back to 10 points and would eventually win 89–77.

Junior guard Tre Dinkins scored a team-high 17 points, shooting 4/7 from three-point range and adding two rebounds and an assist in the boxscore. Junior forward Frank Mitchell and sophomore guard Tahj Staveskie each had 12 points, with Staveskie registering a career-high eight rebounds and three assists. As a team, the Griffs shot just 29% from the free throw line, and 45.5% overall.

Staveskie commented on the slow first half, which saw Canisius down by nine points entering halftime: “I was just trying to help my team win. I definitely have to start off the game more aggressively, I think I have to set the tone better for my team and my troops.” When asked about what the team can work on as they move into their next week of matchups, Staveskie answered, “Intensity. We have to keep the same level of intensity the whole game.”

Head Coach Reggie Witherspoon echoed this, saying, “It isn’t the one punch that needs to land, it’s a collection, and I think our efforts slipped in the beginning part of the second half.” He added, “You come into a game like this, and you think you’re going really hard. If you equate it to a boxing match, you threw what you would think would be knockout punches, and the other guy doesn’t flinch. … And so while you’re thinking about how you’re going to hit differently, Syracuse just kept coming and coming.”

Canisius travels to Olean for their second game of the season this Saturday at 4 p.m., facing off against St. Bonaventure.

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