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Canisius men’s basketball falls short in loss to Memphis

CANISIUS COLLEGE ATHLETICS

Takal Molson
Game Recap
Canisius sophomore Takal Molson led all scorers with a game-high 18 points and three other Golden Griffins recorded double-figures in the scoring column, but it was not enough to overcome Memphis on Friday, as the Tigers defeated the Blue and Gold 71-63 in the consolation bracket of the 2018 AdvoCare Invitational in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Memphis moves to 3-2 on the year with the victory, while the Griffs slipped to 1-4 with their four-straight loss.
 
Molson scored his game-high 18 points after he went 6-for-13 from the floor, 2-for-7 from 3-point range and 4-for-4 from the free-throw line. He also added three rebounds, two assists and a steal in 34 minutes of action. Junior Isaiah Reese chipped in 14 points, three boards and three assists, while fellow junior Malik Johnson added 11 points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals. Junior forward Dantai St. Louis came off the bench and scored a career-high 10 points in the losing effort as the Griffs ended the day shooting 40 percent from the field, 23.8 percent from 3-point land and 55.6 percent from the free-throw line.
 
For Memphis, senior Kyvon Davenport led the Tigers with 16 points. He also grabbed 10 rebounds to go along with two assists, a blocked shot and a steal. Freshman Antwann Jones was good for 14 points and six rebounds off the bench for Memphis, while forward Mike Parks posted 14 points and five rebounds. Memphis shot 47.6 percent from the floor and went just 1-for-14 from behind the 3-point arc, but the Tigers were able to turn 20 offensive rebounds into 21 second-chance points as Memphis outrebounded Canisius by a 51-28 clip for the contest.
 
A 14-2 run by Memphis midway through the first half put the Tigers up 23-9 with 12:15 left before the halftime break, forcing a Canisius timeout. Canisius battled back and got within six at 30-24 after Reese darted through the lane and scored one off the backboard with 4:59 remaining before intermission. Canisius was not able to get any closer in the first half however, but went into the locker room at halftime trailing 40-31 after Reese hit a jumper at the horn.
 
In the second half, Canisius trimmed the Tigers' cushion to 46-41 with 15:22 remaining after St. Louis scored off an offensive rebound to get the Blue and Gold within five points. Six-straight points by Memphis allowed the Tigers to take a 52-41 led with 13:32 left in the contest, before another Canisius run, this time a 6-0 spurt over 1:48, made the score 52-47 in favor of the Tigers. Canisius hung around and trailed by just five at 58-53 with 7:44 left to play following a bucket by sophomore Jalanni White, but Memphis scored the game's next six points over 1:35 to push the margin back to 11 at 64-53.
 
Baskets by Johnson and Molson got the Griffs within five at 66-61 with 2:23 left to play, but a lay-up by Kareem Brewton out of a Memphis timeout and a free-throw make with 11 seconds left made the score 69-61 and sealed the victory for the Tigers.
 
White ended the game with five points and two steals, while junior forward Kejuan Johnson-Alls was credited with a career-high six rebounds, a block and a steal in 23 minutes of action. Sophomore forward Scott Hitchon had a career-high three assists in the losing effort, as the Griffs were credited with 11 assists on 24-made field goals for the contest.  
 
Head Coach Reggie Witherspoon's Postgame Comments
"We came out and allowed them to score 23 points in the first eight minutes of the game, and then after we took that timeout, we gave the best effort of the season to this point. That type of intensity is exactly what I've been talking about. We need to continue to build off that so that it just becomes a habit. You can't just sit back and let teams do whatever they want, at some point you have to fight back. I think we made a step in the right direction there today."
 
"I thought we did a nice job of taking care of the basketball and when we were locked in, we did a pretty good job controlling their offensive flow. That's a team that averages 80-plus points a game. Where we need to get better is on the glass, plain and simple. You can't let a team get 20 offensive rebounds and think you're going to win. We were a bit overmatched in size up front, but rebounding is a full-team effort. It takes all five guys on the floor, giving maximum effort at all times, to be a good rebounding team. We're going to get better there, we have to if we're going to be successful."
 
Game Notes
• This was the third all-time meeting between these two programs, and the first since 1966. Canisius leads the series 2-1.
• This is Canisius' first four-game losing streak since the team lost four straight from Jan. 24 through Feb. 5, 2015.
• Molson has now scored 10-or more points in seven-straight games, dating back to last season.
• Molson extended his string of made free-throws to seven straight with four makes on Friday. His last miss at the charity stripe came in the second half at Florida State on Monday.
• Reese has hit multiple 3-point field goals in 40 career games as a Griff after he drilled two treys on Friday.
• Johnson now has multiple steals in four of the team's five games this season. He also moved into 15th in school history in career assists at 312.
• Freshman Jordan Henderson scored his first two career points in the first half after making a pair of free-throws.

Up Next
Canisius will close out its stay at the 2018 AdvoCare Invitational on Sunday, Nov. 25, when the Griffs square-off against either College of Charleston or UAB in the tournament's seventh-place game. Game time is set for 10:30 a.m., and the game will be broadcast live on ESPNU. The radio call can be heard on WECK-Radio Buffalo, GoGriffs.com and the TuneIn app.