Canisius uses late comeback to down men’s basketball

Michael Hewitt

The Quinnipiac men’s basketball team’s losing streak reached three games after Kassius Robertson of Canisius buried a jumper to give the Golden Griffens a 65-63 win Saturday at the TD Bank Sports Center.

Quinnipiac was coming off a pair of tough losses against Iona and on the road against Rider.

Despite the Bobcats’ failure to nab one of the two closely contested games, Quinnipiac still had an opportunity to grab the fifth seed in the MAAC conference.

But with less than 10 seconds on the clock, and the score even at 63, Canisius’ Robertson came off a high screen beyond the arc, used the crossover dribble to make separation between himself and James Ford Jr. and sunk the game-winning jumper.

Robertson said the designed play gave him confidence.

“[The play] gave me some time to set up my dribble,” he said. “I got an open shot. To be honest, I knew I was going to make it because we were doing a very good job on that play the whole game.”

Robertson finished with 17 points in the game, shooting 7-11 from the floor.

Canisius’ head coach Jim Baron thought Robertson and his team’s performance was outstanding.

“[Robertson] knew what to do. We executed. [The game] was a chess-match,” Baron said. “I thought we did a good job boxing out and holding them to one shot. It was a big win; the kids believe.”

While Robertson will steal headlines with the big bucket, Canisius mounted a major comeback with a little over four minutes to play.

Quinnipiac’s Evan Conti, who finished with 16 points, sunk a layup to give the Bobcats a 59-52 lead with 4:20 on the clock.

Then, Jeremiah Williams of Canisius went on a run of his own, outscoring Quinnipiac 10-2 to draw even with the Bobcats.

The 13-4 run climaxed with Robertson’s jumper, but the Canisius comeback was a team effort. Josiah Heath finished with a double-double, posting 19 points, while corralling 13 rebounds.

Quinnipiac head coach Tom Moore thought his team’s inability to execute in the final minutes cost the Bobcats.

“Today’s a big step backwards,” Moore said. “No one will feel bad for us. Canisius played outstanding down the stretch. We didn’t put the ball in the basket down the stretch.”

Ousmane Drame led the Bobcats with 20 points and finished with three old-fashioned 3-pointers. Conti nailed four 3-pointers and James Ford Jr. nailed three, but the team finished shooting 35 percent from beyond the arc.

Moore said Drame’s presence sets up makeable shots, but Quinnipiac still struggled shooting the ball from 3-point range.

“Teams dare us to shoot from the outside. We’re one of the worst 3-point shooting teams in the league,” Moore said. “When we make shots, we’re a complete basketball team.”

Moore believes his team’s offensive game is more of the problem, and that the defense has been solid.

“We’re a great defensive team,” Moore said. “We’ve come up short offensively.”

The Bobcats are now 14-13 on the season, and 8-10 in the MAAC.

Up next for Quinnipiac is Siena (10-16, 7-10 in MAAC) on Friday at the TD Bank Sports Center.

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