Five Canisius players scored in double-figures, led by Phil Valenti and Kassius Robertson who had 19 points apiece, as the Golden Griffins scored a 77-64 non-conference win over Albany Monday night in the Koessler Athletic Center. The win, Canisius’ third straight, improved the Blue and Gold to 6-5 overall, while the Great Danes fell to 6-5 with the loss.
Valenti, who scored his 19 points after going 7-for-11 from the floor and 5-for-6 from 3-point land, became the 35th player in school history to reach the famed 1,000-point mark for his career after he drilled a 3-pointer from the top of the key just 4:02 into the game. His five makes from 3-point land in the win tied a career high, and he was also credited eight rebounds, an assist and a steal in 35 minutes of action. Robertson hit four treys in the victory and also dished out four assists, as the Griffs ended the night with 20 assists on 26-made field goals.
Freshman Isaiah Reese, who was named the MAAC’s Rookie of the Week earlier on Monday, came off the bench to score 13 points to go along with four rebounds, four assists and two steals. Senior Kiefer Douse added 12 points and matched a career-high with six assists, and junior forward Jermaine Crumpton scored 10 points while matching a career best with nine rebounds in the win. Canisius shot 45.6 percent from the field, 42.9 percent from 3-point land and 76.5 percent from the free-throw line in the victory.
Canisius led by five at the break at 32-27, but the Great Danes got with one at 32-31 just 1:12 into the second half with four quick points. From there, Canisius pulled away, using an 11-2 run over the game’s next 1:55 to take a 43-33 lead, with that run being capped by a 3-point field goal by Valenti. Canisius, which stretched its lead to as many as 17 points more than halfway through the second half, shot 48.1 percent from the field and 50 percent from 3-point range in the game’s second stanza en route to the victory.
Albany had four players score in double-figures, led by sophomore David Nichols, who had a game-high 21 points in the loss. For the game, the Great Danes shot 40.9 percent from the field and went a perfect 8-for-8 from the free-throw line, but Albany was ice cold from long range, going just 2-for-11 from behind the arc in the contest.
Head Coach Reggie Witherspoon’s Postgame Comments
“Albany a very physical team and a very good team, and that was a good challenge for us at this point in our development as a team. I thought we settled down in the second half and started to control the game a little bit more and we took better care of the basketball with just five turnovers. And we defended better. This was a really good, solid effort by us against a good team.”
“I think we learned that we can stand toe-to-toe against a physical team. I think we showed that we are growing in our level of poise and our trust for each other. We showed that we’re ready to take on a challenge like the one here tonight. It shows a lot of progress. I’m not sure where we would have been a couple of weeks ago, but we’re starting to get it a little bit more now.”
Inside the Box Score
• Albany, which ranked in the top-20 nationally in rebounding margin, out rebounded Canisius by a 37-35 clip.
• The Griffs made 12 3-pointers in the win, the 46th time since 2012-13 where Canisius made 10-or more 3-pointers in a game.
• Albany outscored Canisius 22-13 in points off turnovers. Canisius turned the ball over 14 times in the win, but just five of those came after halftime.
• Canisius led from start to finish, as the Griffs scored he game’s first bucket to take a 2-0 lead just 11 seconds into the game.
• This was the third all-time meeting between the two teams. Canisius leads the series 2-1, with both wins coming on the Koessler Athletic Center floor.
• The Griffs are on their first three-game winning streak since Jan. 15-22, 2016.
• After starting the season 0-2 at home, the Griffs’ last two wins even the team’s home record at 2-2 on the year.
• Valenti’s five 3-pointers match his previous career high, set Nov. 16, 2015 in a home victory over Lehigh.
• Robertson hit four 3-pointers in the win Monday night, his 44th career game with multiple makes from behind the arc.
• Reese is the first Canisius freshman to score in double-figures in three-straight games since former Griff Zach Lewis had 10-plus points in four-straight contests during the 2013-14 campaign.
• Junior Selvedin Planincic recorded two blocked shots in the victory for Canisius, extending his streak of games with at least one block to four.
Canisius will return to action Saturday, Dec. 17, when the team plays cross-town rival Buffalo in the Big 4 Basketball Classic in KeyBank Center. Tipoff is set for 3:30 p.m., and the game will be broadcast live on Time Warner SportsChannel. The radio call is available on Timeless WECK 1230-AM and 102.9-FM and GoGriffs.com.