WNY Athletics

Canisius Survives St. Francis For Crazy Triple-Overtime Win

The Canisius-St. Francis rivalry had already seen everything heading into Thursday’s Manhattan Cup semifinal … or so we all thought.

A back-and-forth battle loaded with controversy that saw comebacks from both sides needed three overtimes to decide. The Crusaders return to the Manhattan Cup finals for the 10th time in 11 years with a 70-66 win over the Red Raiders in a memorable game played at the Koessler Center.

“Put that into words? How am I supposed to do that?” Canisius coach Kyle Husband said with a relieved laugh outside the winning locker-room.

After a back-and-forth battle, the Crusaders seemed done after a turnover and down a point in the dying seconds of the first overtime period. But a technical foul – a correctly-called, but not always whistled, violation – gave Canisius another chance after a technical was assessed on the Red Raiders after a reserve player ran off the bench to celebrate too early.

“I don’t think anyone in the gym heard a whistle,” St. Francis coach Brian Ferris said. “I think everyone just thought the clock ran out. I think if the horn would’ve went, nobody would have heard it, that’s how loud it was. But they have to call it out if they see it, and that’s how they decided to call it in that situation.”

St. Francis appeared to have won the game on a Lucas Theissen bucket with 4.4 seconds left in the game and then it looked over when Jack Bickerstaff stole the inbounds pass and drew a foul. But after a brief discussion, the officials slapped the technical on the Red Raiders for the early celebration.

“We were yelling for it,” Husband said. “Hey, it happened two nights ago in the Georgia-Mississippi State game. You’ve got to know … give those officials guts to call it but it was the right call. Basketball, you never know what’s going to happen. It’s unfortunate for them, maybe we got lucky, but we were smart enough to do the right thing.”

Bickerstaff missed both free throws and Dewayne Voss missed the first but then calmly drained the second to tie the game.

In the second overtime, Canisius came out strong but the Red Raiders weren’t done fighting. Theissen tied it with 1:20 left with a jumper. Both teams had chances for the lead but the game remained at 62-62.

Canisius finally took the lead for good on a 3-point goal by Joe Ingrado with 3:10 left in the third overtime. It was still a one-point game in the final minute when the Crusaders put the game to bed.

Ishmael Fairclough hit two free throws and after stealing the inbound pass hit another from the stripe. 3-of-4 from the line and then a steal and score by Dewayne Voss sealed the deal with 16.2 seconds left.

Voss led the Crusaders with 28 points and Eric Kegler added 15 for Canisius, which trailed by as many as 15 in the first half.

“I can probably name five or six games this year where we were down double-digits,” Husband said. “We didn’t lose our fight. In the second half, we played much, much harder.”

Theisen scored 22 for St. Francis. David Bartholomew added 12 and Bickerstaff 10 for the Red Raiders.

“It’s a tough way to lose, especially for our seniors,” Ferris said.” These guys have played a lot of basketball for me. For it to come down to that at the end, it’s a tough situation.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *