Canisius junior forward Jermaine Crumpton scored a career-high 31 points and the Golden Griffins held cross-town rival Buffalo to a 2-for-11 effort from the field in overtime, as the Blue and Gold scored a 94-87 win over the Bulls in the second game of the 2016 Big 4 Basketball Classic Saturday in KeyBank Center. The win, Canisius’ fourth straight, moves to the team to 7-5, while Buffalo fell to 5-6 with the loss.
Crumpton’s 31-point game stands as the most points for a Canisius player in KeyBank Center, and it was the most points for a player in a game in the building since Stephen Curry scored 30 points for Davidson in an NCAA Tournament loss to Maryland March 15, 2007. The Niagara Falls, New York native is just the 14th player to record more 30-or more points in the building, and he’s the first Griff to score more than 30 in a game since teammate Phil Valenti had 33 points in a MAAC Tournament win over Niagara last March.
Junior Kassius Robertson scored 14 points, with 11 coming in the second half and overtime, while senior Kiefer Douse chipped in 13 points, seven rebounds, two assists, a steal and a blocked shot for the Griffs. Senior forward Phil Valenti, who played just three minutes in the first half due to early foul trouble, posted 12 points on the final stat sheet, with four of those coming in the extra session. For the game, Canisius shot 42.9 percent from the field and 46.7 percent from 3-point range after hitting 14 baskets from behind the arc.
Buffalo’s Blake Hamilton led the Bulls in the loss with his 19 points and 11 boards. Nick Perkins added 18 points, while Willie Connor scored 17 points for UB, which shot 40 percent from the floor, 32.1 percent from 3-point land and 68.8 percent from the free-throw line.
Early on, Buffalo led by as many as nine points, but Canisius battled back and trailed at the intermission by a 49-46 count thanks to the effort of Crumpton, who scored 20 points in the opening stanza. The second half was a back-and-forth affair, as the game was tied 13 times and there were seven lead changes after the break. A Douse lay-up with 1:58 left in regulation time put Canisius up 81-79, but the Bulls answered on their next trip down the floor, and a lay-up by Hamilton with 1:11 showing on the game clock knotted the game at 81-81. After Canisius came up empty on its next possession, the Griffs were able to get a stop late as Crumpton stepped in front of Hamilton to draw an offensive charge call with 19 seconds left in the game. Canisius had three chances to win the contest in regulation in the final six seconds, but came up empty, sending the game to overtime.
In overtime, Canisius used an 8-1 run in the first 2:26 of the extra period to take an 89-82 lead. Buffalo was able to trim the Griffs’ margin to two at 89-87 with 1:30 left to play, but a pair of made free-throws by Crumpton and three late makes from the stripe by Robinson sealed the win for Canisius, the program’s first overtime win of the season.
Head Coach Reggie Witherspoon’s Postgame Comments
“This was a hard-fought rivalry game today where we got down early and got into some foul trouble. I think we really showed something to be down just three at halftime. This is a really good win for us as a unit because we got contributions for a lot of different guys.”
"We had guys come off the bench that had not played in several games. Jabreel Falkner came in and gave us some rebounds and presence around the basket after not having played in several games. Several bench players' minutes were very important to us today. We would not have survived Phil’s early foul trouble in any other game up until today. We are growing as a team, and that showed today."
“Crump’s energy was phenomenal. His energy has gotten better every game. He has lost weight and feels more comfortable and every game he has more energy to put out on both ends of the floor. The difference between where he is right now and was in the first four or five games is night and day."
Inside the Box Score
• Nine of the 11 Canisius players who saw the floor on Saturday scored at least two points, and 10 players had at least one assist.
• Both the Griffs and the Bulls had 46 rebounds in the game.
• Canisius enjoyed 24 points off then bench in the victory, led by freshman Spencer Foley, who matched a career-high with nine points in 13 minutes of action.
• This was the 49th all-time meeting between the two schools, with Canisius holding a 32-17 lead in the series.
• This was the second-straight year where Canisius and Buffalo have played an overtime game. It is just the third overtime in series history.
• The Griffs, who were listed as the visiting team on Saturday, now have five road wins this year, which ties the team for the nation’s lead in road victories with Jacksonville.
• The 14 makes from 3-point are a Canisius program record for a game played in KeyBank Center, and the team also set a program record with 22 assists in the downtown facility.
• Freshman Malik Johnson had a game-high seven assists in the victory for Canisius. He is averaging 5.8 assists per game in the team’s last five outings.
• Junior Selvedin Planincic had a career-high nine rebounds in the win and extended his streak of games with at least one blocked shot to five straight.
Canisius will close out the non-conference portion of its 2016-17 schedule on Thursday, Dec. 22, when the team travels to play at long-time rival St. Bonaventure. Tipoff in the Reilly Center is set for 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on Time Warner Cable Sports Channel, and the audio call will be on Timeless WECK 1230-AM and 102.9-FM in Buffalo and the Golden Griffin Broadcast Network.