By Colin Richey, Assistant Sports Editor
Canisius men’s basketball traveled to Laval, Quebec for a three-game road trip, defeating Wofford 76–67 on Friday and Western Kentucky 85–77 on Saturday but falling to Bowling Green 77–73 on Sunday.
In the first game of their triple-header, the Griffs took an early lead, taking a 9–6 lead 5:01 into the game thanks to a three-pointer from senior Siem Uijtendaal. Wofford wouldn’t catch Canisius from there, going into halftime down 36–21. The Griffs extended their lead to as many as 27 points and kept at least a 20-point cushion until 5:23 remained in the second half. The Terriers attempted a comeback, fueled by a 9–0 run late in the half.
Even with the effort, junior TJ Gadsden drained four free-throws in the final 18 seconds to seal the win for Canisius. The Griffs shot just 33.3% from the field in the second half and didn’t make a shot in the final 7:24 of the contest, but their efficiency from the free-throw line (.750) added enough to their lead to keep the win out of Wofford’s reach. Uijtendaal led the team with 19 points and nine rebounds. Gadsden finished with 17 points and went 9/10 from the free-throw line, setting a new career high in free throws made in a game.
On Saturday, the Griffs ended Western Kentucky’s three-game winning streak thanks to a second-half comeback to secure the 85–77 win. The Hilltoppers used an 8–0 run to take a 30–19 lead midway through the first half. Canisius answered with a 13–2 run of their own, led by Uijtendaal with nine points. Even with the momentum, Canisius went into halftime trailing 37–33. The Griffs maintained their momentum, taking the lead thanks to an 11–0 run. They took the lead with 15:22 remaining and held onto it for the remainder of the game.
Western Kentucky trimmed the lead to just two possessions with 24.5 seconds left, but junior Tre Dinkins drilled four free-throws to close out the game. Junior Frank Mitchell recorded a game-high 17 points while also adding 16 rebounds, the most for any player in the MAAC this season. The contest was the first time the two schools met since 1949, a series in which Western Kentucky still leads 5–2.
Canisius dropped the final game of their road trip, falling to Bowling Green 77–73. The Griffs tied the game 73–73 with 2:58 remaining. Canisius called a timeout after the Falcons took a two-point lead with 15.2 seconds left. Out of the timeout, Uijtendaal’s lay-up attempt was blocked, and Bowling Green recovered the rebound to secure the win. Mitchell scored a career-high 19 points to pair with his game-high 10 rebounds in the losing effort. Dinkins added 16 points and seven assists, while Uijtendaal tallied 13 points and three rebounds.
After the road trip, Mitchell was named the MAAC Men’s Basketball Player of the Week. He is the first Griff to receive the award since 2021. In the last four games, Mitchell has averaged a double-double with his 13.8 points per game and 10.5 rebounds per game.
When asked about the award, Mitchell credited his teammates for his success so far this season: “It feels good. I’ve put in a lot of work, but I think a lot of my success came from my team. My team’s been finding me, my team’s been believing in me. There were some games where I was in my head, and my team gave me confidence and we were able to come out with wins. We had a great trip in Montreal and we did it together. [Coach] Spoon says to me before every game, ‘Get lost in the fight.' What he means by that is just go out there and don’t care about anything other than your team winning.”
Canisius now faces a three-game home stand, as Mitchell explains that the team’s focus hasn’t changed: “We want to go in and play the best basketball that we can play. Stay poised and really practice our principles that our coaches have been teaching. And make sure we’re playing our brand of basketball.”
The Griffs are home on Friday, Dec. 1 at 7 p.m. to face Quinnipiac in the Koessler Athletic Center. The matchup will see the two highest-scoring MAAC teams face off against each other in what is sure to be a high-scoring affair.