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Canisius holds on to nip St. Peter's

Coach Tom Parrotta walked off the Koessler Center court with his head buried into his chest, looking like a man who had just played 40 minutes and lost.

His Canisius team was on the positive end of a nail-biter, 64-61, over Saint Peter's in front of 868 on Friday night. Canisius (6-8, 1-3 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) led by 12 points with 13:11 left. But 10 minutes later, Saint Peter's was up by four and the outcome was not decided until the final seconds.

When Canisius senior Corey Herring stepped out of bounds near halfcourt with 5.3 seconds left and the Golden Griffins leading by three, the Peacocks had a shot to send the game into overtime.

Brandon Brock raced the ball up court, but Frank Turner reached from behind for a steal and managed to bother Brock's shot enough that he missed badly as time expired.

"I'm still out of breath," Parrotta said. "We made it interesting down there. We talked at halftime about wanting to get up on this team and we got up by [12] but never really separated ourselves the whole game."

Canisius won without leading scorer Chuck Harris, who underwent knee surgery for a meniscus tear on Thursday. The injury, suffered on Dec. 29 at Hartford, is more serious than originally feared and the senior guard could be out as long as three weeks.

On Friday, Parrotta started three freshmen in Turner and Jovan Robinson in the backcourt and Menghe a'Nyam at forward in place of senior Darnell Wilson, and a'Nyam and Wilson both seemed to respond. In his first start, a'Nyam scored 13 points and grabbed seven rebounds, including five offensive. Wilson had 11 boards.

"Darnell has been pressing a little bit and has been frustrated," Parrotta said. "We're trying to find different ways to ease him into things. He's such a competitor that he puts so much pressure on himself. He presses and sometimes that leads to him picking up his first or even second foul a minute into the game."

A'Nyam, generously listed at 6-foot-5, plays bigger than he looks and filled in for Wilson nicely. The Griffs led, 63-61, with 15 seconds left when Wilson missed his second free throw and a'Nyam was able to sneak inside and tap the ball out to Turner.

"I was thinking, you have to believe, you have to try," said a'Nyam, a native of Cameroon. "Then I saw the ball right in front of me and I tapped the ball back. When I saw Frank with the ball I was just amazed."

Said Parrotta: "We could have lost the game on that last shot without the tap back."

That was only the beginning of the drama. Turner was fouled with 12.2 seconds left and missed his second free throw. With 7.9 seconds remaining, Saint Peter's Raul Orta was called for traveling before Herring stepped out of bounds with 5.3 seconds left. That's when Turner came up with the game-saving play.

St. Joe's graduate Tim Spitler had six points and eight rebounds for St. Peter's.


Canisius freshman guard Jovan Robinson was named MAAC Rookie of the Week after collecting season-highs of 21 points and seven rebounds in an 81-71 win at Hartford.


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