Point guard Ahmad Clark scored a career-high 30 points on Saturday in leading the University at Albany to a 75-66 victory against Canisius at the Koessler Center. It was Albany’s first win in three tries and the first loss for the Golden Griffins after an opening win at Bucknell.
The Griffs had a difficult time containing the 6-1 junior from DeMatha Catholic in the Washington, D.C., area. He made 8 of 16 field goal attempts and 10 of 11 free throws. He also had a game-high seven assists and three steals.
Takal Molson led Canisius with 24 points, but he and Isaiah Reese, who are the Golden Griffins’ usual scoring leaders, struggled in their shooting. Molson made 8 of 20 shots, but was only 2 of 10 from 3-point range. Reese was held to six points, 3 of 13 field goal attempts and 0 for 7 on threes.
"Our guys really didn’t waver from the game plan; contain Reese and contain Molson," said Albany coach Will Brown. "I thought Molson got a lot of baskets very late in the game when we had a fairly comfortable lead. But I thought we did a good job for the most part of sticking to our game plan, believing in our preparation and making life a little difficult for a very good Canisius team."
Canisius’ last lead was 18-17 with 4:40 to play in the first half. Albany led the rest of the way, and by as much as 12, 72-60, with 1:05 left.
Adam Lulka, a 6-8, 245-pound redshirt freshman from Sydney, Australia, led all rebounders in the game with 10.
“Give Albany credit," Canisius coach Reggie Witherspoon said. "They grinded it. They played their style and they did it very well. We played it like we wanted it to be a 3-point shooting contest instead of a basketball game and that’s not going to be good enough in a basketball game.
“I think we learned a lesson in how hard you have to compete, and how hard you have to play. You have to do that on an everyday basis so that it becomes a habit. If you’re not willing to go there, you’re going to have a problem. We went there, but then we got uncomfortable, so we backed out of that mode.”
Earlier in the afternoon at the Koessler Center, the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley (formerly UT-Pan American), rallied from an early 14-2 deficit and defeated the Canisius women’s team, 57-52.
Canisius was held to four field goals in the second half after the teams were tied, 34-34, at halftime.
Senior Sara Hinriksdottir had 13 points and a career-high 15 rebounds for the Griffs. It was the second straight double-double for the senior from Keflavik, Iceland.
Shannon Conely had 14 points for Canisius (0-3). Senior Idil Turk had 19 points for UTRGV (2-2).
"Today was disappointing, I don’t think we came out with the same attention to detail as we did in the first two games, said Canisius coach Scott Hemer, still looking for his first victory with the Griffs. "We lacked passion for things we could control, except rebounding, that was one thing we did do well. The hard part about it being we only allowed them to score 57 points. Now, they can choose to learn from it so it doesn’t happen again."
Hofstra tops Bonnies
Playing again without its lone senior, Mckenna Maycock of Randolph who is out indefinitely with an injury, St. Bonaventure lost at home to Hofstra, 67-59, on Saturday afternoon in the Reilly Center.
Sika Cuzic, a senior from Romania, led Hofstr with 27 points and 10 rebounds. Cuzic had 20 of her points in the first half when Hofstra built its lead to as many as 11 points.
A hopeful sign for Bona was that two freshman guards, Asianae Johnson (16) and Deja Francis (13), led the team’s scoring.
"We’re competing, we’re going to keep getting better and keep learning and it starts with those two," St. Bonaventure coach Jesse Fleming said. "I thought we fought back, but we dug ourselves too big of a hole."
Emily Calabrese had 10 rebounds for the Bonnies, who shot 46.9 to Hofstra’s 42.6 but 23 turnovers hurt.
UB women at Oregon
The University at Buffalo women's team has traveled a long way to face a tough opponent in the quest for its fourth straight 3-0 start to a season. Coach Felisha Leggette-Jack's Bulls will face Oregon (3-0) this afternoon in Eugene, Ore.
Led by 25 points from senior Cierra Dillard, UB defeated Niagara, 88-61, on Wednesday night in its home opener.
Oregon, ranked No. 3 in the nation, owns wins against Alaska Fairbanks, No. 18 ranked Syracuse and Utah State. The Ducks are averaging 92.7 points and shooting 53.1 percent. They are led by junior Sabrina Ionescu (19.7 ppg, 10.3 rpg and 7.0 assists). She is shootin 63.2 on 3-point attempts.