JERSEY CITY, NJ -- Two teams in need of getting in the win column. It hasn’t been easy for Canisius. The Golden Griffins entered the Yanitelli Center on an eight-game stretch marred by seven losses. The lone win during that time was at Manhattan, a team in search of its first MAAC win, on January 2. Saint Peter’s, on their end, was trying to snap a three-game slide.
Canisius, by virtue of a strong second half, was able to hold off and defeat Saint Peter’s, 59-54. The Griffs are 3-4 in the MAAC, (4-12 overall) while 3-13 Saint Peter’s is now 2-5 in conference play.
First five possessions:
Canisius: Missed FG, three-point FG, turnover, missed FG, missed FG
Saint Peter’s: Missed FG, three-point FG, missed FG, FG, three-point FG
Saint Peter’s led 8-3 at 6:20 mark of the first quarter. The Peacocks knocked down two threes, but the story behind the start was defense. Outside of Anna Sweny’s three-pointer, Canisius’ attempts were actively contested by Saint Peter’s and possessions expired after one shot.
First half observations:
Saint Peter’s showed a good deal of energy early, especially on the defensive end. Pat Coyle’s club was also active grabbing loose balls. They were the early aggressor.
Defense energizes offense. On the thought of energy, Canisius was able to trim a double-digit deficit by heating up on offense. As they got stops on defense, the Griff offense suddenly kicked into gear.
Pat Coyle has depth. Bringing the likes of Alyssa Velles off the bench is a luxury she did not have a year or two ago.
A relatively deliberate 30-possession half ended with Saint Peter’s holding an 87-67 edge in offensive efficiency.
Offensive efficiency: Canisius 92, Saint Peter’s 84
eFG%: Canisius 49, Saint Peter’s 41
Free Throw Rate: Canisius 40, Saint Peter’s 27
Offensive Rebound%: Canisius 20, Saint Peter’s 25
Turnover Rate: Canisius 20, Saint Peter’s 20
Leading scorers and EF:
Canisius- Sara Hinriksdottir 19 points, EF 27
Saint Peter’s- Talah Hughes 14 points, EF 23
What Canisius did well: Maintain poise after falling behind early. Saint Peter’s got out to a 22-12 lead early. On the road, the Griffs regrouped and put together a strong final twenty minutes to pull off the win.
What Saint Peter’s did well: Battle back. Down eight late in the game, the young Peacocks did not fold, and got the deficit to one possession with under a minute left.
This was a game where the first four minutes after the half made a difference. Canisius outscored Saint Peter’s by three, 9-6. More importantly, they found their range and confidence on offense, and were able to build on that for the duration of the game.
By no means was it an artistic battle in this grind-it-out affair. Neither team had a positive assist-to-turnover ratio. Canisius had nine assists to 13 turnovers, while Saint Peter’s managed eight assists to their same total of 13 turnovers. Canisius had a decided 30-14 advantage on points in the paint. The field goal percentages told us a great deal on this night. The Griffs shot 44 percent to the 35 percent of the Peacocks. The second half totals were worth noting:
Saint Peter’s: 10-for-30
After all the breakdowns and analysis, sometimes it comes down to the simple fact that you must put the ball in the basket.
“Not a great game for either team. They got hot early, but we battled back. The first 20 minutes, they packed it in and we tried to beat them off the dribble. The second half, we spread the offense and shot the ball well from outside. First half was too much forcing things off the dribble. It was so important to get on the road and win. Our last two against Marist and Quinnipiac in Buffalo, we played six good quarters out of eight and lost both games. Two close losses. So it was so good having to go on the road, to get out with a win.” - Canisius coach Terry Zeh
“Tough loss. I thought we came out with great intensity. We did what we wanted to do, but second half, couldn’t make shots. That second half, they adjusted and began attacking the baseline and getting to the rim. They did a good job in their motion. Defending that offense can wear you down, but we hung in there. We got down eight late and had four straight stops, but scored only once on the offensive end. Those are missed opportunities, but credit our kids for not folding and battling back to make it a one-possession game late. We have more depth this year definitely. We were without a preseason second team All-MAAC player (Sajanna Bethea) tonight, but that is not an issue to discuss, as we have more depth available this year. Having that depth actually creates more opportunities for us to score. Overall, it came down tonight to us not being able to make shots.” - Saint Peter’s assistant Phyllis Mangina