Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Canisius Holds Off UMKC With Defensive Effort, 67-55

KANSAS CITY, KAN. ---- Canisius held off two UMKC runs in the second half, and held the 'Roos to a season-low matching 55 points on Tuesday night at the Koessler Athletic Center for a 67-55 victory.

“Their defense did a good job of frustrating us, and corralling the paint, making it tough for drives,” Head Coach Kareem Richardson said. “I thought we allowed our lack of offensive execution to then affect us defensively, and we started panicking and had some breakdowns that we typically don’t have.”

Sophomore Martez Harrison was the only player that could get anything going offensively, putting up 23 points, while no other player had more than six.

The ‘Roos (5-10) opened the game with a fast pace, and led 9-8 after a flurry of points by Harrison with 14:55 on the clock, but from then on the Golden Griffins (7-4) slowed it down to the pace they wanted to play. They used defense to surge in front by a 27-17 margin with 2:47 to play in the half.

Canisius went into the break with a  31-23 advantage, led by 11 points from Zach Lewis, who came in as the leading scorer for the team at 13 per game. He went 3-6 from three in the period, while Harrison paced the ‘Roos with 13 points. Harrison was forced to the bench with two fouls, and was only able to play 13 minutes in the half.

UMKC shot only 36 percent, while CC shot 43 percent. The Golden Griffins also made only four turnovers in the period against the pressing defense of the ‘Roos.

The Kangaroos came out strong in the opening part of the second half, getting to within three in the opening four minutes. With 13:53 on the clock a pair of Harrison free throws got it down to one, but Canisius answered with a 7-0 run in a little more than a minute to get it back to 43-35.

UMKC had another rally in it though, going on a 9-0 run to take a 44-43 lead with 9:38 on the clock. The Griffins took the advantage back on the next possession though, and didn’t give it back. Each time the ‘Roos scored, CC would answer, and turned a 51-49 lead with 7:27 left into a 65-50 lead with 1:01 on the clock (largest of the game). It held UMKC to only one point in a span of 6:55.

The ‘Roos shot only 26 percent in the final half (6-of-23), while the Griffins went 13-of-26 (50 percent). UMKC executed its game plan of getting to the line, shooting 21-of-29, including 12-of-15 from Harrison, but couldn’t get much else to fall. The Griffins also made only 12 turnovers, and turned the 15 UMKC miscues into 25 points.

UMKC was paced in rebounding again with nine from Darius Austin. Noah Knight was second on the team with six points. Canisius had four players in double-figures, led by 18 from Phil Valenti and 17 from Lewis.

UMKC will hit the road for the final time in non-conference play this Saturday at Miami University (Ohio).

The game will be televised in Kansas City on KSMO, with tipoff scheduled for 2:30 p.m. CT. The contest will also be available on ESPN3.