BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — St. Bonaventure put together an impressive second half, but the early Canisius lead was too steep a hill to climb for the Bonnies on Saturday afternoon at the Key Bank Center.
The Griffs got hot early on, and went into the break with a 35-27 halftime lead.
But the Bonnies turned right back around in the second half to give Canisius some trouble.
In the second half of play, St. Bonaventure shot a 40% field goal percentage, compared to Canisius’s 29.2%. The threes weren’t hitting for the Griffs in the second half, as only one out of nine was successful.
“Coach always asks us every year, ‘Do you think we could win a grind it out game?’ where the team’s not scoring the ball, it’s ugly, a game like this,” Canisius senior Malik Johnson said. “He asked us that in years past and people would be hesitant, like uh I don’t know if we can do that.”
“I think this team just grind it out and find a way to win. Everybody is on the same page, there’s no hidden agendas, we don’t care who gets the glory, it could be me one day, it could be Jacco, it could be anybody but we all are happy for each other, and that’s the beauty of it,” Johnson said.
Even with the Griffs’ shots not falling in the second half and watching Bona make a comeback, Canisius was still able to stay in the game and come out with a 61-57 win thanks to a pair of Malik Johnson free throws in the final seconds of the game after he took a charge.
“They can now look to this game as an example of where to put your emphasis first,” Canisius head coach Reggie Witherspoon said. “That’s your effort, that’s the thing you can control is your effort and your energy and how hard you play.”
Canisius hits the road to warmer weather to play in the Boca Raton Beach Classic. The first game for the Golden Griffins is on Tuesday at 8 when they play UIC.