Griffs drop heartbreaker to Monmouth 76-72

Posted at 11:38 PM, Jan 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-16 23:38:48-05

In the battle for first in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, Canisius fell just short in a 76-72 loss to Monmouth Monday night at the Koessler Center.

The Griffs trailed by as many as 15 in the second half, but rallied to pull within 72-70 with with 2:07 to play in the game.

Trailing 75-72 with 13 second lefts in the game, Phil Valenti tossed up a three that bounced off the rim and was pulled down as one of 32 defensive rebounds for the Hawks.

"We got down and had to fight back and fought back, but I think our frustration level preceded our level of poise there," head coach Reggie Witherspoon said following the game.

Early in the second half with the Griffs trailing, after a non-foul call on Niagara Falls native Jermaine Crumpton, the senior turned the ball over, was called for a personal foul then assessed a technical after yelling at the refs.

With four fouls and more than 18 minutes remaining in the game, he would sit the majority of the second half, and finished with just eight points.

Witherspoon at one point threw off his jacket in frustration with the whistles.

"It was painful to go through that," Witherspoon said of his team's lack of discipline."When you're in a situation where it could be a one possession game, it's a tough way to learn that."

Kiefer Douse led the Griffs with 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting, going 3-for-3 from beyond the arc.  Valenti added 14, while Kassius Robertson chipped in with 13.

The Griffs, who struggled to find a rhythm in the first half, shooting 46% from the floor.  However, while they found their stroke on the outside, they struggled to get inside against Monmouth's Chris Brady who finished with 22 points on 11-of-12 shooting and also hauled in 10 rebounds.

"He was maybe the difference in the game," Witherspoon said of the big man.

While Monday marked the second loss to Monmouth this season, Robertson hopes for a third showdown at the conference tournament.

"Of course," he said. "It'd make for a great championship."

The Griffs return to action Friday when they travel to Quinnipiac.