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  • The Griffin

Men's basketball's season ends at hands of Fairfield

The Griffs were dominated all night, shooting just 26.6% from the field. Adam Gorski/The Griffin

The Griffs never got anything going offensively and it cost them the season, suffering a season-ending loss at the hands of Fairfield in the first round of the MAAC tournament in Atlantic City, N.J. on Tuesday night, 72-50.

Canisius kept it close with Fairfield for the first moments of the game, but the Stags scored eight consecutive points in just over a minute to make it a double-digit lead with just under four minutes to play, 26-15. A three in the final minute in the half from Fairfield’s Jesus Cruz made it an 11-point game at the break, 31-20. The 20 points were the Griffs’ second-lowest point total in the first half all season, as they shot just 8-30 from the field in the first stanza. The 50 points was the second-lowest point total this season.

“We dug ourselves a big hole in the first half. Missed free throws, missed layups and we couldn’t get them stopped enough to get back in the game,” Canisius head coach Reggie Witherspoon said.

The second half brought more of the same. After an Armon Harried bucket to open the second frame, Fairfield scored 12 straight points, part of a larger 14-1 run that opened the lead to 20. Fairfield led by as many as 25 in the second half.

The Griffs struggled on offense all night, shooting 17-for-64 from the field, including 5-for-23 from behind the three-point arc. They also did not have a player in double figures, the only such game this season where all of the scorers finished in single digits. Akrum Ahemed had the most, finishing with nine. Malek Green had eight.

“We just needed to move the ball more and get in more of a rhythm offensively. We just were kind of stagnant,” forward Jordan Henderson. Henderson struggled all night, scoring just seven points on 2-14 from the field in what could have been his final college basketball game.

Green, the team’s third-leading scorer, was limited to just two minutes played in the first half due to two early fouls. He played just 12 minutes overall.

“I think we had three guys with two fouls and so that put us in a hole,” Witherspoon said.

Cruz led the Stags on Tuesday finishing with 19 points, while Taj Benning had 15 and Caleb Green had 10. Supreme Cook was a difference-maker as well, finishing with nine rebounds in 20 minutes played.

As for who will be back for next year, Witherspoon did not give any details on those discussions.

The Griffs, having now lost in the first round of the conference tournament three years in a row, finish the campaign with an 11-21 mark.

“We had a lot of adversity, injuries and things these guys had to fight through and play heavy minutes, I’m just really appreciative of their effort,” Witherspoon said. “I’m thankful.”

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