Men’s Basketball Wins Two in a Row as Playoffs Near
By Colin Richey
After a 3-11 start against MAAC opponents this season, the Canisius men’s basketball team has won four of their last five games, giving the Griffs a 7-12 conference record. The upswing in momentum can be attributed to victories over Quinnipiac, Rider, Saint Peter’s, and Fairfield, and a one-point loss to Mount St. Mary’s sandwiched in between.
Last Friday, Canisius took on Saint Peter’s. The Peacocks are just one of two teams currently sitting below the Griffins in the MAAC standings. Leading by just two points at halftime, Canisius outscored Saint Peter’s 35-24 in the second half, ending the game with a score of 66-53.
The team never trailed throughout the entirety of the game, and extended their streak of shooting 50% or better from the field to four straight games, recording a .558 FG%, compared to the Peacocks’ .421 FG%. This is the first time the Griffs’ 50+ FG% streak has reached four games under seventh year head coach Reggie Witherspoon.
Senior Jacco Fritz finished the game with 13 points, nine rebounds, and three steals, all of which were team-highs. Fritz extended his double-digit point streak to four games, averaging 14 points per game in that stretch. Junior Siem Uijtendaal registered 12 points, as well as two rebounds and two steals in the win.
Canisius followed up their 13 point victory with a second consecutive 13 point win, this time against Fairfield on Sunday. The Griffs came out hot, outscoring the Stags 30-18 in the opening half. The 18 points for Fairfield were the fewest points ever allowed in a half by Canisius under Coach Witherspoon.
In the second half, Fairfield cut the lead to as low as nine points, at 37-28 with 13:11 still remaining in the game, but a 7-2 run for Canisius over the next 1:20 squashed any dreams of a comeback for Fairfield.
The Griffs shot 51.7% from the field in the second half, and out-rebounded Fairfield by a margin of 19-11. Sophomore TJ Gadsden led the team with 11 points, while graduate student Jordan Henderson added 10, and redshirt-freshman Tahj Staveskie added 9. For the first time since February 8th and 10th of 2018, Canisius held back-to-back opponents under 60 points.
The Griffs wrap up the regular season on Saturday March 4th, where they host Niagara at the Koessler Athletic Center at 3:30 PM for Senior Day and Fan Appreciation Day.