The Canisius mens's basketball team overcame a sluggish start to put away Quinnipiac, 71-64, Saturday afternoon at the Koessler Center, lifting the Griffs to 11-2 in MAAC play for the first time ever.
Jermaine Crumpton scored 14 points to lead the Griffs while Isaiah Reese scored 13 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and had seven assists as Canisius moved level with Rider for first place in the MAAC, though the Broncos play Marist (5-20) at 7 p.m.
Canisius' previous high-water mark in MAAC play came in 2014, when the Griffs started 10-2 before dropping two in a row. The team also started 9-2 in 1997 before losing three straight. Winning the conference's regular-season title would assure the school at least an NIT bid. Canisius' last NIT appearance was in 1995, with its last NCAA Tournament appearance coming in 1996.
First half: Canisius shot just 36 percent in the first half against a QU team that ranked 298th in opposing field-goal percentage, but still held a 29-28 lead thanks to its defense, which limited Quinnipiac to 3 of 14 on three-pointers and forced nine turnovers. Canisius' top scorers, Crumption and Reese, were 5 of 13 from the field. Crumpton led all players with eight points at the break.
Second half: Canisius finally gained some separation with a 9-0 run that made it 45-37 with 11:30 left, holding QU without a basket for four and a half minutes. Canisius led by as many as 14 when Jibrell Faulkner threw down a huge alley-oop from Reese to make it 62-48 with 3:41 left, which effectively put the game away.
Crumpton moves up: Crumpton (Niagara Falls) passed Griffs legend Hank Nowak for eighth on the school’s all-time scoring list and now stands at 1,460. Nowak, who was on Canisius’ NCAA teams in the mid-1950s, reached the total in 78 games played; Saturday was Crumpton’s 114th. Crumpton also passed Kevin Thompson to move into eighth place in career three-pointers made (148).
Hall of Fame day: Canisius inducted a new class to its athletic Hall of Fame at halftime. Inductees were Mary Boller '07 (volleyball), Scott Maybee '94 (diving), Ryan Puntiri '01 (men's soccer, hockey and football) and Kevin Ross '07 (men's lacrosse), along with Gary Everett, the former director of Canisius Public Safety who received the Rev. Paul J. Dugan, S.J., Award for his contributions to Canisius athletics.
Starters: Canisius started Malik Johnson, Isaiah Reese, Takal Molson, Jermiane Crumpton and Selvedin Planincic – a lineup that Canisius is 12-1 with since going to it in mid-December. Quinnipiac went with Cameron Young, Isaiah Washington, Rich Kelly, Jacob Rigoni and Abdulai Bundu.
Next: Canisius hosts Fairfield on Monday at 7 p.m.