Phil Valenti scored six of his 14 points in the final minute and a half, Jermaine Crumpton was 4 of 4 from 3-point range and scored 18 and Canisius slipped past Duquesne 78-77 on Friday night to earn their first victory of the season and the first for head coach Reggie Witherspoon with the Griffs. Kassius Robertson hit three 3s and finished with 13 points for Canisius (1-2).

The game featured 10 ties and 17 lead changes, including four in the final 29 seconds.

Canisius
(Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports)

Canisius came out firing in the first half, connecting on more than half of their 13 total 3-pointers in the game. They shot 50% from behind the arc on 26 shots and even more impressively connected on 91.7% of their free throws (11 of 12).

Canisius led 43-41 at the break, but the Dukes would eventually lead by as many as eight points midway through the second half thanks to an 11-3 run that made the score 61-53 with 12:04 left to play.

Duquesne’s Tarin Smith and Emile Blackman each scored 18 points in the loss for the Dukes, while Mike added 17 points and seven boards. Duquesne shot 48.1% from the field, but just 23.5% from 3-point range and 65.6% (21-for-32) from the free throw line.

The last 14 seconds were exactly what college basketball is about with each side scoring a bucket before Valenti hit the high-floating shot to seal the win for the Griffs. Canisius had a 76-75 lead with 14 seconds left on the clock when Valenti grabbed an offensive rebound and laid it over the rim. The Dukes (2-2) answered seconds later when freshman Isiaha Mike hit a base-line jumper with nine seconds left that put the Dukes up 77-76. Canisius, which had one timeout left, chose to push the ball up the floor in an effort to score in transition.

This was a great choice by first-year Canisius coach Witherspoon, who showed trust in the guys on the floor. Freshman Isaiah Reese brought the ball up court, passed to Valenti in front of the free throw line, and he did not miss the highly contested floating shot that gave the Griffs the lead for good with 1.6 seconds left on the clock.

After the game Witherspoon commented on his team’s performance…

“This was a really good win for us. This was a hard-fought game throughout. It was physical and it was one of those games where we needed a lot of contributions from a lot of guys. We got that tonight, which is great to see.”

“I thought we played really well in the first half, but we lost our focus a bit and they were able to get back at us. We didn’t hang our heads, we just kept working. We got back in the game thanks to our defensive effort, for sure. Like when you’re on offense, you need to have some confidence when you’re on defense. You can’t be timid. Guys were locked in and discipline and they got some validation for their hard work.”

“There’s still some things we need to clean up – we turned it over a too much, and we need to learn better positioning when boxing out, but we just kept going. I thought we played well in pockets in our two previous games, so a win like this tonight is a good feeling for sure.”

The win snapped the Dukes 11-game home non-conference winning streak, which dated back to Dec. 28, 2014. The last time Canisius won a road non-league game was Nov. 18, 2014 – a 63-51 win at Lehigh.

Box Score

Canisius
Player Pos Min FG-FGA FT-FTA 3P-3PA OR-TR Ast Blk Stl TO PF Pts
J. Crumpton F 32 6-10 2-2 4-4 2-7 1 1 0 6 2 18
P. Valenti F 32 6-11 2-2 0-2 1-4 4 0 1 1 1 14
K. Robertson G 27 5-9 0-0 3-5 0-1 2 0 0 2 1 13
K. Douse G 25 2-4 2-2 2-4 2-3 3 0 1 1 5 8
M. Johnson G 25 1-4 2-2 0-1 0-3 2 0 1 1 3 4
I. Reese 17 2-4 0-0 1-2 0-4 4 0 0 0 1 5
M. Dixon-Green 10 2-5 0-0 1-3 0-2 0 0 0 1 3 5
C. Atkinson 9 0-1 0-0 0-1 0-0 5 0 0 1 0 0
D. St. Louis 9 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 1 0 0 1 4 0
J. Faulkner 7 1-2 3-4 0-0 0-1 0 0 0 2 3 5
S. Foley 7 2-4 0-0 2-4 0-1 2 1 0 0 2 6
Totals 200 27-54
(.500)
11-12
(.917)
13-26
(.500)
5-28 24 2 3 17 25 78

 

Duquesne
Player Pos Min FG-FGA FT-FTA 3P-3PA OR-TR Ast Blk Stl TO PF Pts
I. Mike F 36 7-10 2-2 1-3 2-7 0 1 0 0 2 17
D. Lewis C 21 3-6 0-1 0-0 3-11 1 1 0 2 2 6
T. Smith G 34 7-13 3-5 1-2 0-3 5 0 2 3 2 18
E. Blackman G 31 5-10 7-10 1-5 0-1 0 0 0 1 2 18
M. Lewis II G 24 2-6 5-7 0-2 0-1 1 0 1 1 1 9
N. Sanders 22 1-1 3-5 0-0 2-4 1 1 0 4 3 5
R. Castro 21 1-5 1-2 1-3 0-0 3 0 0 1 1 4
S. Littleson 9 0-3 0-0 0-2 0-2 0 0 0 0 1 0
E. James 2 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Totals 200 26-54
(.481)
21-32
(.656)
4-17
(.235)
10-33 11 3 3 13 14 77

Up Next

Canisius: The Griffs head home for the first time this season, taking on UT Martin on Monday Nov. 21 in the final game of the Bluegrass Showcase.

Duquesne: The Dukes head south to take on top-ranked Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky.

 

Dan Schalk covers the Canisius Golden Griffins for MFST, you can follow him on Twitter @FFSportsTalk

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