OLEAN, N.Y. – Canisius senior Phil Valenti scored 17 of his team-high 27 points in the second half and overtime, and freshman guard Isaiah Reese added a career-high 22 points to go with four assists, as the Golden Griffins went on the road and defeated long-time rival St. Bonaventure 106-101 in overtime Thursday night in the Reilly Center. The win, Canisius’ fifth straight, moved the team to 8-5 on the season, while the Bonnies fell to 8-4 with the loss.
Canisius, which leads the nation in road wins with six, scored its second-straight overtime victory by outscoring the Bonnies 17-12 in the game’s extra session. Valenti and Reese combined to score 10 of the Blue and Gold’s 17 points in the extra period, with the duo tallying five of the team’s final nine points in the closing 1:05 of the overtime session.
Canisius had five players record double-figures in the scoring column in the win, led by Valenti’s season-high 27 points. He also grabbed seven rebounds and dished out four assists in 40 minutes of action. Junior Kassius Robertson chipped in 16 points and four assists to the winning cause, while junior Jermaine Crumpton and freshman Spencer Foley added 14 points, apiece. The 14-point effort by Foley, who went 3-for-5 from 3-point land for the game, stands as his new career high.
Canisius led 89-86 late in regulation time, but the Bonnies forced the game into overtime thanks to a 3-point field goal by junior guard Matt Mobley with 3.7 seconds left to play. Mobley finished the night with a game-high 33 points, one of four St. Bonaventure players to post double-figures in the scoring column. In overtime, the Bonnies led 98-97 with 1:18 after Mobley drained a pair of free-throws, but Canisius took the lead right back on its next trip down the floor after Reese drilled a triple from the top of the key with 1:05 left in overtime. Mobley hit a 3-pointer at the other end of the court with 40 seconds left to play to give the Bonnies a 101-100 lead, but a tip-in by Kiefer Douse off a Canisius miss with 25 seconds showing on the clock gave Canisius the 102-101 lead, a lead the Griffs would not give up the rest of the way. Canisius sealed the win in the game’s final 19 seconds after Valenti and Robertson hit four-straight free-throws down the stretch.
Canisius shot 52.1 percent from the floor, 39.5 percent from 3-point land and 94.4 percent from the free-throw line in the win, while outrebounding the Bonnies by a 33-31 count. Canisius matched a season-high with 15 3-point makes in the win, and the Griffs ended the night with 22 assists on 37-made field goals.
Head Coach Reggie Witherspoon’s Postgame Comments
“What a great game. I hadn’t really thought about how many time Canisius had won [in the Reilly Center], but I guess I should have. I talked to some former players in the last couple of days. Some really good players. And they all said they never won here. It’s a great feeling to leave here tonight with a win and it’s great for our guys. They were terrific.”
“I always tell these guys the process is more important than the result. When we’re sharing the ball and we’re moving it side-to-side, I have a lot of confidence in our guys to shoot. I think that’s what has helped us. When the ball is moving, we have a lot of guys who can shoot it. But the most important thing is that we have a lot of guys who can pass it.”
Inside the Box Score
• Canisius’ 37 made field goals in the win are the most for the Griffs since March 18, 2014 when Canisius made 37 baskets in an overtime loss to VMI in the first round of the CIT.
• Canisius set a school record with 38 attempts from 3-point range.
• The Griffs scored 40 points in the paint and turned 13 St. Bonaventure turnovers into 16 points.
• The game featured nine lead changes and nine ties. Canisius led the game for 38:04.
• This was the 165th all-time meeting between these two long-time rivals. St. Bonaventure leads the series 100-65.
• This was the just the eighth overtime game in this series, and the first since the 1993-94 season.
• The Griffs’ win in the Reilly Center on Thursday is the program’s sixth in 37 trips to Olean. This win snapped a six-game road losing streak in the series for Canisius, which dated back to Dec. 6, 2003.
• The 106 points scored are the most for Canisius in the rivalry series against St. Bonaventure.
• Including the overtime game against Buffalo Dec. 17, this marks the first time Canisius has played back-to-back overtime games since Jan. 29 and Jan. 31, 2000.
• This marks the first time Canisius has won back-to-back overtime games since Feb. 9 and Feb. 12, 1983.
• The Griffs are on their first five-game win streak since 2006-07.
• Canisius has had five players score in double-figures three times this year.
• Valenti’s 27 points moves his career total to 1,053, which ranks 30th in school history.
• Senior Martin Dixon-Green made his first career start on Thursday and matched a career-high with five points.
Canisius will take 11 days off for the Christmas holiday before returning to the floor Jan. 2, when the Griffs host Siena in the Koessler Athletic Center. Tipoff for that game is set for 2 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.