The Canisius men’s basketball team was smooth, poised and in control in the first half against Rider.
The Golden Griffins simply unraveled in the second half of an 82-73 loss to Rider on Friday at the Koessler Athletic Center.
The Golden Griffins lost a 13-point lead in the second half, then tied the game at 63-63 with 3:45 left on back-to-back buckets by Isaiah Reese (21 points) and Takal Molson (19 points), the second off a turnover by the Broncs.
But Molson fouled Frederick Scott (22 points) on Scott’s 3-point attempt, and the Rider forward made all three free throws to give Rider a 66-63 lead with 3:11 left. The Broncs (8-7, 3-0 MAAC) outscored the Golden Griffins (5-10, 2-1) down the stretch, 19-10, and Canisius finished 2-for-9 on 3-pointers after tying the game at 63.
Rider was picked to win the MAAC in the preseason coaches poll in October, ahead of Canisius.
Rider 82, Canisius 73 Rider took control in the paint in the first five minutes of the game, en route to a 13-12 lead against Canisius. The Broncs grabbed six rebounds in that span, and center Tyere Marshall scored six of Rider’s first eight points.
The Golden Griffins found their touch on 3-pointers and built an 8-0 run into a 15-2 run and forced Rider off-balance in the paint.
Canisius hit 4 3-pointers in a span of less than four minutes, including a 4-point play by Isaiah Reese that gave Canisius a 24-17 lead eight minutes into the game. Seconds later, Jonathan Sanks hit a 3-pointer that stretched the Golden Griffins’ lead to 10 at 27-17.
Meanwhile, Rider found itself in a first-half drought, hitting one shot from the floor in a stretch of nearly 10 minutes.
Kimar Williams broke the shooting drought with a layup with 4:54 left in the half but Rider made only one shot from the floor and scored three points on free throws in that stretch, as Canisius opened its lead to as many as 14 points en route to a 41-30 lead at halftime.
Canisius registered seven steals and scored 10 points off turnovers, and went 7-for-11 on 3-pointers in the first half, while Rider was 1-for-11 on 3-pointers.
Rider took advantage of Canisius’ sloppy play early in the second half and cut the Golden Griffins’ lead to 46-40. But by the time Canisius opened up its lead back to 11 points, with more than 15 minutes left in the game, Reese had 17 points and the Broncs were still looking for their second 3-pointer of the game.
But again, Rider came back and forced Canisius into turning the ball over four times, and capitalized on the Golden Griffins’ defensive miscues. Rider went on a 12-0 run to cut Canisius’ lead to 53-52 8:35 into the second half – all on points from Scott, then took a 54-53 lead on Devine Eke’s layup with 10:37 left.
Canisius and Rider traded leads four times in less than minutes, and the Broncs scored 14 of their first 28 points in the second half off turnovers.