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NJIT ends Canisius season

NEWARK, N.J. – Time and the men’s basketball season finally ran out for the Canisius Saturday night.

New Jersey Institute of Technology grabbed the lead with 4:15 left to play and hung on through a wild finish for a 78-73 victory over the Golden Griffins in a quarterfinal game of the Collegeinsiders.com Invitation Tournament (CIT) before a raucous crowd in the Fleisher Center.

Thus, a season that was not expected for Canisius ended.

However, coach Jim Baron’s team went 18-15 and finished fourth in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference standings, then defeated Dartmouth and Bowling Green in the CIT before being eliminated Saturday.

It was a disappointing final game as a Griff for senior center Josiah Heath, who had just seven points and two rebounds. Heath was plagued by fouls and picked up his fifth with 3:25 left in the game. Heath played only 15 minutes.

Canisius led, 35-31, at the half and had a eight-point advantage as late as the 6:08 mark in the second half. However, the Highlanders chipped away and finally moved in front on Ky Howard’s layup.

The Griffs had two more field goals than the Highlanders, but were outscored, 23-19, at the foul line and from three-point range where NJIT (21-11) was 9 for 30 to 4 for 23 for Canisius.

Tim Coleman and Damon Lynn had 22 points each for NJIT.

Lynn made only 4 of 18 field goal attempts (3-15 from outside the arc) but made 11 of 13 free throws and played all 40 minutes and had 22 points, Coleman had 11 rebounds for the winners.

Kevin Bleeker led Canisius with 16 points. Kassius Robertson came off the bench and contributed 13. Zach Lewis had 11 and Jeremiah Williams had 10 in his final game as a Griff.

NJIT led, 69-65, entering the final minute. The Highlanders did not score a field goal the rest of the way but made nine of 11 free throws. There was 17 points combined by the two teams in the hectic final 57 seconds.

Canisius’ Jermaine Crumpton, who played at Niagara Falls High School, played for the first time since Feb. 8, when he suffered a broken foot. He scored five points.