Canisius basketball falls to South Dakota
blog by Dan Ludwig • December 08, 2011 @ 11:17pm
End-of-semester studies must be getting the best of Canisius College students’ schedule. That’s the only explanation that I can offer for the serious lack of student support for the Golden Griffins’ basketball team for their 7:00 p.m. tip-off Thursday night at the Koessler Athletic Center.
The relatively small constituency of Canisius students saw their Griffs fall to the South Dakota Coyotes, 67-55. The loss extended Canisius’ losing streak to five games and dropped the Griffins’ record to 1-6 this season. The Coyotes improved to 3-5.
The game featured outstanding shooting from the Coyotes, who went 25-48 from the field. Perhaps more importantly, South Dakota had sniper-like accuracy from three-point range, shooting 10-18, a staggering 56% from beyond the arc.
Canisius’ star guard, Gaby Belardo, remained out of the line up with a back injury, and it was apparent that Canisius sorely missed his offensive production, as Canisius head coach Tom Parrotta explained after the game.
“We’re not a team to make excuses, but I thought we were a little under-manned tonight,” said the coach. “It really hurts us, Gabby not being here. Our bench is paper thin right now.”
In Thursday night’s game, both Canisius and South Dakota opted to start the game with zone defense, a strategy that works well to clog up the lane, but leaves the defense vulnerable to the three-point shot.
Taking prior games into consideration, this was a logical defensive strategy for Parrotta. Coming into the match-up, the squad from South Dakota was making only five three-pointers per game, averaging 26% from long range.
In the first half against Canisius, however, South Dakota went 6-12 from three-point distance. Due to this success, Canisius switched to man-on-man defense with about five minutes left in the first stanza and was able to slow down the lights-out shooting from the Coyotes – for a while.
The short-lived defensive momentum provided a spark on the other end of the court for the Griffins as Alshawn Hymes brought the Griffs within a point, 26-25, with back-to-back threes. The Griffins were not able to carry their mojo into halftime, however, because of a long-range dagger from Coyote guard Louie Krogman as the clock wound down to single digits in the first stanza.
The Coyotes came out from the locker room firing, hitting their first three shots from beyond the arc to start the second half. The good shooting from South Dakota stood in stark contrast to the offensive production from the Griffs, who struggled with turnovers and missed shots throughout the second period.
With 11 and a half minutes left in the game, the Coyotes had expanded their four-point halftime lead to 15 points, making the score 48-33. Although Canisius responded with a nine-point run to bring the score within six, the 48-42 score line was the closest the Griffs would get.
“We established some tempo. We got it to six, but, again, [South Dakota] made a shot to stop the bleeding. I really thought we were gonna get over the hump there,” said Parrotta of his team’s second half surge.
Perhaps it was a lack of scoring depth that hurt Canisius. Alshwan Hymes and Harold Washington led the Griffs in scoring with 18 and 16 points, respectively. The combined points from the duo made up 34 of the 55 points Canisius scored on the night—62% of the team’s offensive production.
Krogman led the way for the Coyotes, finishing the game with 18 points, all but three of which came from behind the three-point line. The senior guard was two rebounds and one assist away from a triple-double.
This weekend, Canisius travels to St. Bonaventure for 7:00 p.m. tip-off this Saturday against the up-and-down Bonnies. After Thursday’s game against South Dakota, Parrotta confirmed that Belardo will miss Saturday’s showdown.
Photo credit: Dave Marino