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Men's basketball splits MAAC road trip with Battle of the Bridge looming

By Colin Richey, Assistant Sports Editor

The men’s basketball team fell to Marist 78–55 on Friday, Feb.16, but got back on track with a 73–64 win over Siena on Sunday, Feb. 18. 

The Griffs lost their fourth straight game to Marist in the one-sided affair. The Red Foxes eliminated an 11-point deficit in the first half and outscored Canisius by 20 in the second. A bucket from sophomore Devean Williams started an 11-0 run for the Griffs, giving them a 19-8 advantage with 11:13 left in the opening half. A three-pointer from junior TJ Gadsden kept the lead at eight with 7:26 remaining. However, the Red Foxes fought back, going into halftime with a 34-31 lead. 

Back to back turnovers in the second half fueled a run for Marist that Canisius couldn’t overcome. Down 53-50 after a dunk from junior Frank Mitchell, Marist would outscore Canisius 21-5 over the remaining 8:03 of play to secure the victory. 

Junior Tre Dinkins scored a team-high 15 points, while Mitchell added seven points and a game-high 14 rebounds. Senior Siem Uijtendaal added 12 points in the effort. The team shot just 38.9% from the field, and 28.6% from three-point range, compared to Marist’s 51.9% and 52.9%, respectively. Nineteen of Marist’s points came off turnovers, as the Griffs finished with 17 giveaways in the game. 

On Sunday, Canisius earned their first MAAC road win of the season against Siena, outscoring the Saints in both halves of play to earn the win. Down 19-12 with about 10 minutes left in the first half, the Griffs would go on a 16-3 run to give them a seven point lead. During that run, four different players scored, with Dinkins contributing six of the team’s 16 points. The Griffs entered halftime with a 36-28 lead, a lead that proved to be too much for the Saints to overcome. The second half saw Canisius outscore Siena 37-36, securing the Griffs a 73-64 win on the road. 

Seven different Griffs scored at least four points in the victory, including a team-high 22 points from Dinkins. The junior made five threes, including his 100th career three pointer, becoming the 21st Griff to reach the milestone. In just 55 games played, he is the fastest Canisius player to accomplish this feat since Billy Baron in 48 games between the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons. 

After surrendering 17 turnovers against Marist, the Griffs recorded just six giveaways against Siena. Also seeing improvement were the team’s shots, making 50.9% from the floor and 46.7% from three point range.

Mitchell, who registered 12 points in the win, points to teamwork as the main reason for success. “We played team basketball. We came out there and just played hard, and walked away with the win,” he said. 

The ‘Main Street Monster’ isn’t phased by the upcoming Battle of the Bridge matchup against Niagara, with the team seeing it as just another game. “We’ve been preparing like any other game. We’re gonna play hard and give it our all. It’s the same preparation like every other game, and hopefully come out with the Battle of the Bridge [win]. That’s what college [basketball] is all about.”

Canisius will host Niagara on Friday, Feb. 23 at 7:00 p.m. at the Koessler Athletic Center, which will serve as the team’s Alumni Night, featuring a t-shirt giveaway for fans who attend. 

Photo courtesy of Tom Wolf

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