Saturday, December 14, 2013

St. Francis Gets Back On Right Track With Win Over Canisius

Glenn Braica and St. Francis College are back to their winning ways after 67-51 victory over Canisius, giving Terriers another signature win in 6-5 start to season. (Photo courtesy of WFAN.com)

Note: This article was written for A Daly Dose Of Hoops by Patrick McCormack, who was on hand in Brooklyn Heights and offered to lend his services to us again today. Patrick covers the Terriers for SFC Today, and is also a student assistant in St. Francis' office of athletic communications. You can follow Patrick on Twitter at @PMac1594.

The St. Francis Brooklyn Terriers snapped a two- game skid with a 67-51 victory over the Canisius Golden Griffins at the Pope Physical Education Center on the campus of St. Francis College.

"I was proud of our guys effort, especially on the defensive end," said head coach Glenn Braica. "I never thought that we would be able to shut a great offensive team like Canisius down like that, but the guys were just tremendous. We struggled to make open shots, but if you play that hard on the other end, you will always have a chance to win."

Freshman guard Sheldon Hagigal, who had 15 points, was the Terriers' leading scorer for the third straight game.

“We took two losses prior to today’s game," the Westbury native said. "We didn’t want to come out and lose three in a row. The last couple of days in practice, we have been going hard and are going after it in practice because at the end of the day, we just want to come out and win." "We are better than we played the past couple of games and we came out and showed that today,” Hagigal commented. Braica has seen the level of Hagigal's play go up over the past three games.

“He is just going to get better and better," Braica said about his freshman guard. "He has the right makeup and is coachable. He was trying to live his life in about two weeks in the beginning of the season. He is starting to calm down. He is going to be a terrific player." "Like Billy, (Baron, Canisius' point guard) he can shoot it, he can drive it, he can pass it, and he can guard. He is a complete player and we look for him to keep getting better because he listens and he works. 

Canisius jumped out to an early 6-2 advantage. The Terriers then went on a 9-0 run, led by four points from senior Matt Milk, to go ahead 11-6. With the score 19-15, the Golden Griffins regained the lead  on a layup from Chris Perez and a three from Jordan Heath. The Terriers came right back and took the lead on a basket from Amdy Fall, who finished with a career-high 11 points.

Billy Baron gave Canisius the lead right back on a layup, but that didn’t last for long, as Hagigal scored to put St. Francis back on top. Later in the half, Fall gave the Terriers their biggest lead of the half on a dunk to make it 33-27. Perez would cut the lead to three on with a three. 

Going into the half St. Francis led 35-32, but the Golden Griffins started the half by scoring the first six points to go up 38-35. The Terriers answered with a 8-0 run to go up 43-38 before Baron made it 43-40, ending the St. Francis run. The Terriers then scored seven straight to go up 10, 50-40, only to see Baron respond to cut the St. Francis lead to single digits, 50-42.

Yet that wouldn’t slow down the Terriers, who took their biggest lead of the game on a three point play by Hagigal, which made it 66-47 with just over two minutes left in regulation.

The key for the Terriers, though, was shutting down Baron.

"He’s a hell of a player," Glenn Braica commented. "Some guys can shoot it, some guys can drive it, and some guys can pass it. He does it all. I thought the length of our guards was good, but he is such a good player, you can’t give him an inch. I am proud of our guys."

Braica said the win showed what his team is about after dropping the previous two games.

“You never know what you’re about until somebody hits you,” Braica commented. “Now we got hit twice in a row and that makes you question things a little bit. These guys bounced right back today.”

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