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Big Second Half Propels Griffins over Bonnies

Canisius College defeated Little Three rival St. Bonaventure University 70-67. Tre Dinkins led the way for the Golden Griffins with 16 points while Siem Uijtendaal notched 13. Charles Pride led the Bonnies in scoring with 16 points while Chad Venning registered 14. This is Canisius’ second head-to-head win in as many seasons and only the third win in the last 10 games in the Reilly Center.

The Bonnies and Golden Griffins opened the game with two completely different offensive styles. Canisius attacked the rim early with Tahj Staveskie and Siem Uijtendaal scoring in the paint while Assa Essamvous and Mika Adams-Woods launched in a pair of threes for St. Bonaventure. Staveskie added a three for the Griffins ahead of the first media timeout of the game.

St. Bonaventure came out of the timeout and ripped off a 7-0 run with free throws from Daryl Banks III and Kyrell Luc along with an NBA-range three from Charles Pride. The Bonnies led 14-7. The teams continued to trade buckets with the Bonnies’ lead fluctuating between two and seven throughout the middle part of the first half. Unsurprisingly, Pride had his fingerprints all over the game early on both sides of the ball.

Canisius took its first lead since 7-6 with a Tre Dinkins three at 8:01 remaining in the first half. However, St. Bonaventure punched right back with back-to-back Chad Venning buckets to re-take a 25-22 lead. Those two baskets would start a 10-0 Bonaventure run, ballooning the lead to nine with just under five minutes to go in the first.

Much like Longwood five days ago, the Golden Griffins would not go away. Canisius notched a pair of threes while Banks countered on the other end with his first triple of the season. The teams only combined for five points in the final 3:05 of the half sending the Bonnies to the locker room up 37-30.

The second half opened with Mika Adams-Woods and Frank Mitchell potting four points each as the scoring immediately picked up from its sluggish first-half finish. Mitchell would keep his foot on the gas notching seven of the Golden Griffins first nine second-half points. Canisius took the lead on a TJ Gadsden three pointer and would never give it back. Staveskie then added to the lead with a triple of his own. Head coach Mark Schmidt had seen enough and called a timeout. The Golden Griffins 15-4 run put the team ahead 45-41.

Canisius continued to pour it on as the scoring run continued to build. The Golden Griffins outscored the Bonnies 27-6 in the first 7:04 of the half. The wheels had completely fallen off Schmidt’s team. Now it would be the Bonnies turn to battle back. The team began playing more aggressive defense, strung together a few stops and grabbed a pair of buckets. Canisius head coach Reggie Witherspoon called the timeout to regroup his team. The pause worked for the Griffins as Staveskie hit a crowd-silencing three to push the lead back to 12.

The pace would slow with Canisius chewing up most of the shot clock on each possession as the lead held steady around the 10-point range. The Bonnies did not go away and began chipping away at the Golden Griffin lead. Venning made a pair of free throws and Pride a layup, but three missed free throws stunted the comeback effort. Gadsden knocked down what seemed to be the dagger three to extend the Canisius lead back to 11 with under five minutes to play.

However, the Bonnies would not quit. Assa and Banks combined for four free throws to cut the deficit back to eight but were once again immediately answered by the Golden Griffins. The Bonnies would make the final push of the afternoon with two minutes remaining. Banks and Pride laid in back-to-back buckets to cut the Canisius lead to four with 1:01 left. Venning blocked Dinkins on the other end of the floor giving the Bonnies a transition opportunity. Pride missed the transition three, the Golden Griffins grabbed the board and were immediately fouled.

Uijtendaal missed the front end of the 1-and-1, Assa grabbed the board, but Banks turned the ball over around midcourt. The Bonnies fouled Uijtendaal again who made the front end this time but missed the second free throw. Adams-Woods got to the hole to cut the lead to 70-67 where the game would go final.

Mark Schmidt was rightfully displeased in his postgame press conference. “Getting outscored 36-12 from beyond the arc is a recipe for disaster,” said Schmidt. The 17th year Bonnies coach talked about his team’s disastrous start to the second half. “I always stress the first five minutes of a half. That is where the seven-point lead can become 14 or 0 and today it became 0 and then got worse,” said Schmidt. He also commented on how the lack of offense hurt the defensive side of the basketball. “We just didn’t guard,” he said.

Canisius guard Tre Dinkins and forward Frank Mitchell commented on their strong second half. “We came out and executed. We grabbed a ton of rebounds and got to the foul line. The intensity was there in that second half,” said Dinkins. We just play basketball, man,” said Mitchell, any win is satisfying.”

The Bonnies now head to Brooklyn for the Legends Classic. The team will play twice, once on Thursday and once on Friday. First up for St. Bonaventure will be the Oklahoma State Cowboys.


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