BUFFALO, N.Y. – (Canisius) Rider junior Novar Gadson’s offensive put-back as the horn sounded allowed the visiting Broncs to take down the Canisius College men’s basketball team by a final score of 77-76 Sunday afternoon in the Koessler Athletic Center. The win is Rider’s sixth-straight and improved the team to 12-5 overall and 4-1 in the MAAC, while the Golden Griffins slipped to 7-8 overall and 1-4 in league play.
Gadson, who scored 16 points in the win for Rider, picked up a loose ball in the lane and laid it over the front iron as the horn sounded to give his team the victory. His basket ended a furious four seconds of action as the Broncs missed two close-range shots. After the final horn sounded, the officials reviewed the play on a court side monitor to insure the ball was shot before time had expired, and the video showed Gadson did in fact let the ball go before time ran out.
In the loss, Canisius senior Julius Coles scored a game-high 20 points after he went 8-for-15 from the field, 3-for-6 from 3-point range and 1-for-2 from the free-throw line to go with five rebounds and three assists. Fellow senior Greg Logins added 18 points and seven rebounds to the Griffs’ effort, while senior forward Elton Frazier chipped in 12 points and six boards.
Rider senor Justin Robinson had 19 points, eight assists and six rebounds in the win for Rider, which snapped a two-game losing streak in the Koessler Athletic Center. Mike Ringgold chipped in 17 points in the winning effort for the Broncs.
The Griffs trailed by four at 75-71 with 2:33 left in the game after Jonathon Thompson connected on a traditional three-point play. From there, Canisius made a surge back, scoring the game’s next five points in a span of 22 seconds, with Coles scoring all five of the team’s points, capped by a lay-up with 1:40 left in the game that put the team up 76-75.
The score would remain 76-75 until Gadson’s final bucket, as both teams went back-and-forth with missed field goals. Out of a timeout with 41.3 seconds left to play, Robinson had a jumper in the lane blocked by Canisius senior Tomas Vazquez-Simmons and from there sophomore Gaby Belardo scooped up the rebound and raced the length of the court where he was fouled by Rider’s Danny Stewart with 12 seconds left. The Griffs were unable to connect on the front-end of the one-and-one, and Stewart grabbed the rebound, setting up the final flurry at Rider’s hoop.
“This was another hard fought MAAC game, a lot like Friday night, and for as good as we felt after Friday’s win, we feel equally as bad after today’s game,” Canisius head coach Tom Parrotta said. “I told the guys after the game we need to find an emotional balance. We did a lot of things right today, they just did one more thing better. We’re coming into our own as a group and we’ll turn the page and move forward to next weekend.”
The Griffs jumped out to an early 9-0 lead 2:28 into the game and that margin held until Anthony Miles hit a 3-pointer for Rider with 10:40 left before the break to make the score 22-16 in favor of the Blue and Gold. Canisius’ cushion ballooned to as many as 12 points in the closing moments of the first stanza, but the Broncs knocked that lead down to just one point at 37-36 with 1:25 left in the half on the strength of an 11-0 run over a span of 1:37. Canisius hit two free-throws and Coles hit a runner in the lane with less than five ticks left in the first half to send the Blue and Gold into the locker room at the intermission with a 42-36 lead. In the first 20 minutes, Canisius shot 54.3 percent from the field, while Rider hit on 48 percent of its shots from the floor.
In the second half, the Griffs pushed their hold back to 11 points at 56-45 with 15:27 left in the game, but the Broncs answered with a 14-0 run, with Robinson scoring six points and Gadson giving Rider its first lead of the game at 59-56 after he hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 12:17 left in the contest. The Griffs knotted the game at 59-59 when Coles hit a 3-point field goal from the left wing, and the game would remain tight down the stretch until Rider took its four-point hold with 2:33 left to play.
For the game, Canisius shot 49.2 percent from the field, 40 percent from 3-point range and 60 percent from the charity stripe, while the Broncs shot 44.1 percent from the floor, 50 percent (11-for-22) from 3-point land and 73.7 percent (14-for-19) from the free-throw line. Canisius turned the ball over a season-low seven times in the loss, while the Broncs held a 37-32 advantage on the glass.
Belardo and Alshwan Hymes had seven points apiece in the loss for the Blue and Gold, with Belardo adding five assists to the Griffs’ efforts. Senior guard Robert Goldsberry was credited with six points and a career-high nine assists for Canisius, while Vazquez-Simmons led all players with four blocks. Those four blocks gives him 248 in his career, which ties him for second all-time in MAAC history with former La Salle player Lionel Simmons.
Canisius will return to action Saturday, Jan. 15, when the team plays on the road at Manhattan. Tipoff in Riverdale, N.Y., is set for 2 p.m.
Game Notes: This was the 32nd all-time meeting between Canisius and Rider, and the Broncs lead the all-time series 26-6… After beating Siena by one-point on Friday, this marks the first time the Griffs have played back-to-back one-point games since Jan. 11, 1999 (a 79-78 loss at Siena) and Jan. 14, 1999 (a 71-70 loss at Fairfield)… Coles has scored 20-plus points 10 times in his career and he is the team’s active leader in double-digit scoring games, with Sunday’s 20-point effort marking the 56th time he’s posted double figures on the final stat sheet… Junior Marial Dhal came off the bench and had a career-high four points to go with two rebounds.