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Albany spoils Canisius men’s basketball’s season opener

CANISIUS COLLEGE ATHLETICS

Scott Hitchon
Game Recap
Albany junior Ahmad Clark scored a career-high 30 points to go with seven assists, five boards and three steals and senior Devonte Campbell added 15 points and five rebounds as the visiting Great Danes scored a 75-66 win over Canisius Saturday afternoon in the Koessler Athletic Center. The win was Albany's first of the season and moved the team to 1-2 on the year, while the Golden Griffins are now 1-1 after losing their home opener.
 
The 30-point effort for Clark came after the Bowie, Md., native hit on 8-of-16 shots from the floor, including four 3-pointers. He also went 10-for-11 from the free-throw stripe in the win, as Albany ended the contest shooting 68 percent (17-for-25) from the charity stripe. Redshirt-freshman Cameron Healy added 14 points and Kendall Lauderdale chipped in eight points off the bench for the Great Danes, who shot 53.2 percent from the field and 44.4 percent from 3-point range in the victory.
 
For Canisius, sophomore guard Takal Molson scored 24 points, while sophomore forward Scott Hitchon scored a career-high 10 points to go with four rebounds. Seniors Jibreel Faulkner and Jonathan Sanks were good for seven points apiece off the bench, but the Blue and Gold shot just 38.3 percent from the field, 20 percent (6-for-30) from 3-point land and 56 percent from the free-throw line.
 
The Great Danes used a 13-4 run over the final 6:04 of the first half to take a 26-22 lead into the locker room at halftime. In the second half, a traditional three-point play by Molson knotted the game at 35-35 with 13:55 showing on the clock, but Albany answered with another scoring run, this time a 7-0 spurt over the game's next 1:16, to make the score 42-35. That run was capped by a 3-point field goal by Clark from the left corner.
 
Canisius battled back and got within three at 52-49 with 6:29 left to play after Molson hit a 3-pointer from the near wing, but Clark pushed Albany away for good by scoring the game's next five points to make the score 56-49 with 5:31 left to play.  
 
Head Coach Reggie Witherspoon's Postgame Comments
"Give Albany credit. They grinded it. They played their style and they did it very well. We played it like we wanted it to be a 3-point shooting contest instead of a basketball game and that's not going to be good enough in a basketball game."
 
"I think we learned a lesson in how hard you have to compete, and how hard you have to play. You have to do that on an everyday basis so that it becomes a habit. If you're not willing to go there, you're going to have a problem. We went there, but then we got uncomfortable, so we backed out of that mode."
 
Game Notes
• Saturday marked the fifth all-time meeting between the two schools. Albany now leads the series 3-2.
• Albany is the first team in this series to score a road win – the home team had won the previous four meetings in this series, which dates back to the 2007-08 season.
• The 66-point effort for Canisius stands as the fewest points for the Blue and Gold since the team scored 62 in a 65-62 loss at Siena Jan. 7, 2018.
• The 24-point effort by Molson on Saturday marks his eighth career game of 20-or more points scored. He matched a career-high with 25 points at Bucknell on Tuesday.
• Junior Isaiah Reese was credited with a team-high eight rebounds and four steals in the loss. His streak of seven-straight games in double-figures scoring came to an end with his six points.
• Junior Dantai St. Louis scored a field goal for the Griffs in the first half, his first basket in a game since March 14, 2017 at Samford.
• Prior to the start of Saturday's game, Canisius unveiled its 2017-18 MAAC Regular Season Championship banner in the Koessler Athletic Center.
 
Up Next
Canisius will travel to Florida to start a stretch where the team plays four games in seven days. The first game in that road swing is set for Monday, Nov. 19, when the Griffs take on No. 14 Florida State in Tallahassee, Fla. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m., and the game will be broadcast live on the ACC Extra Network. The radio call can be heard on WECK-Radio Buffalo, GoGriffs.com and the TuneIn app.