Men’s basketball splits with Fairfield

Malek Green had 29 points and nine rebounds in the Griffs' win on Friday. (Canisius Athletics via GoGriffs)

A winning streak that dated back over a month came to an end, but Canisius men’s basketball was able to pick up a split on the road against Fairfield with an 80-69 win on Friday before falling 66-53 on Saturday.

Game one of the series on Friday the Griffs once again came out slow, a theme of the team as of late. They trailed 37-33 at halftime after trailing by as many as 11 in the first 20 minutes. 

However, the second half was where they picked it up. They trailed by seven early on but used a 9-0 run to take a 46-42 lead, which included a pair of threes by Malek Green. Green had a career night in the Griffs’ win, scoring a career-high 29 points on 10-15 shooting, including 4-6 from three and grabbed nine rebounds. 

Fairfield did cut the Canisius lead to one, 50-49 with just over nine minutes to play but the Griffs went on a 7-0 run that lasted less than a minute to put the game away. That run included a Jordan Henderson three that made it 57-49.

In addition to Green, Henderson had a good game as well, scoring 19 points on 7-8 from the field. Ahamadou Fofana scored 11 points, one of the three Griffs in double figures. Jacco Fritz had a good night as well, scoring nine points and adding seven rebounds. 

“If you look at our scoring, one night we get contributions from this guy, the next night it is someone else’s turn and it just keeps building. When a team buys into the mindset, you become very difficult to defend,” head coach Reggie Witherspoon said.

In Saturday’s game the Griffs looked flat, resulting in a 66-53 loss to end the team’s five-game winning streak. It was the Griffs’ first loss since December 28, 2020. 

The Stags went on an early run, leading 11-2 just over five minutes into the game and carried it to a 33-21 lead at the break. 

The Griffs did try to mount a comeback in the second half but they never came particularly close, only getting it to as little as seven points, 36-29, before the Stags scored six straight points to make the lead 13. Fairfield led by as many as 17. 

One thing that didn’t help them was struggling with shooting, going just 33.9% from the field and 5-22 from three. 

Despite the loss, Green once again led the Griffs in scoring with 14 points and six rebounds. Majesty Brandon had 13 points and Armon Harried was the third Griff in double figures, with 10. Fairfield was led by Jesus Cruz, who had 17 points. 

“Give Fairfield all the credit tonight. Like they did last night and pretty much all season, they came out and played hard at both ends of the floor for a full 40 minutes. We did not match their compete level tonight,” Witherspoon said.

The split makes the Griffs 6-4 on the season with four games remaining. They will return home to play Manhattan this weekend on Friday and Saturday. Both games begin at 7 p.m. at the Koessler Athletic Center.

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