By Colin Richey, Assistant Sports Editor
The men’s basketball team beat Manhattan 82–70 on Friday while falling to Marist 80–71 on Sunday, as junior Frank Mitchell continued his historic run.
Led by Mitchell’s career-high 21 points, four of Canisius’s starting five scored in the double digits in the Griffs’ 82–70 win over Manhattan. The teams went into that game tied 41–41 at halftime before Canisius came out of halftime on a 6–0 run. The Jaspers never retook the lead but did manage to get within one point of the lead with 16:48 left to play. A 9–0 run from the Griffs extended their lead to 10 points, which would prove to be too much for Manhattan to overcome.
Along with Mitchell’s 21 points, he added a game-high of 15 rebounds for his MAAC-leading ninth double-double of the season. He is the first Griff to have five or more games with 15+ rebounds in a single season since Darren Fenn in the 1999-00 season recorded five. Junior Tre Dinkins and senior Siem Uijtendaal each recorded 18 points in the win, while junior TJ Gadsden added 12 points of his own. The scoring aligned to a .532 field goal percentage from Canisius, above the mark of Manhattan’s .450. The win also marked head coach Reggie Witherspoon’s 300th career win, becoming the school’s all-time winningest coach in MAAC regular season games.
Canisius failed to string together back-to-back wins, falling to Marist on Sunday. Despite leading 23–17 with 7:51 left in the first half, a Marist timeout swung momentum in favor of the Red Foxes. Marist dominated out of the break, using a 20–8 run to enter halftime with a six-point lead. After leading by 12 with 10:47 remaining in the game, sophomore Cam Palesse scored five straight points in a push to make a comeback. After Marist used another timeout, they scored nine of the game’s next 12 points, extending their lead back to 13 and putting the game out of reach for the Griffs.
The team shot well overall, making half of their field goal attempts, but their shooting percentage from the three-point range was a mere .286 compared to Marist’s .526. Dinkins recorded a team-high 18 points, while Mitchell added 17 points and 17 rebounds. He is now one of 19 players in the country with at least 10 double-doubles this season. Currently tied for fifth in the country in rebounds per game (averaging 11.2), Mitchell became the first Griff since Larry Fogle in 1973-74 to record 15 or more rebounds in four straight games. He now has six games this season with 15 or more boards, the most for a Griff since Ron Peaks in 1977-78.
Mitchell credits his teammates for his success this year, explaining that “my team gives me confidence,” while coach Reggie Witherspoon continues to preach the team’s mentality. Witherspoon believes they should “get lost in the fight and think about the team, and everything will work out.” He identified the keys to success for the team, which include “playing angry” and sticking to fundamentals while focusing on the little things.
Next up, Canisius goes back on the road, traveling to Hamden, Conn. to take on the MAAC-leading Quinnipiac Bobcats on Sunday, Feb. 4 at 2 p.m. After that they’ll cross over the bridge, taking on Niagara on Tuesday at 7 p.m.