Canisius delivered an outstanding performance Tuesday night against Bishop Kearney of Rochester, considered one of the top programs in the state, especially due to a fearsome frontcourt of Division I-caliber players.
The fact that one of those players, Syracuse University-bound 6-foot-9 senior Chinonso Obokoh, did not accompany Kearney to Canisius’ Bernard J. Kennedy Field House was not a major issue for Crusaders coach Kyle Husband.
“I knew a little bit before [the game that he wasn’t playing], but I don’t care,” said Husband. “It’s not something we can control.”
The Crusaders controlled plenty. Canisius played excellent defense, moved extremely well in transition, shared the ball and knocked down outside shots in delivering a sterling all-around effort in a 69-50 rout of Kearney before a crowd of about 500.
Canisius College-bound Adam Weir had 28 points while fellow 6-4 senior Matt MacDonald had 18, with both hitting three three-pointers. Canisius was up, 30-24, at halftime and steadily built on its lead in the second. Canisius extended its lead to 53-39 after three quarters and thwarted any thoughts of a Kearney comeback by starting the fourth on a 9-0 run.
“We’re getting better,” said Husband. “We played hard, we executed. When we defend and then get out and run, that’s when we’ll be at our best. We shut them down, and we rebounded, and that’s a big team.”
Kearney was led by senior guard Antwoine Anderson, who had 20 often-spectacular points. Thomas Bryant, a 6-7 sophomore who is being recruited by Top 10 college programs, had 10 points while sitting out much of the second quarter and part of the third with foul trouble. Godspower Ogide, a 6-6 junior, had seven points.
Kearney coach Jon Boon said that Obokoh did not make the trip due to a strained ligament in his foot and that he is “out indefinitely” and he had “no idea” when he would return.
“It is something that has been bothering him for a while,” said Boon, including in Kearney’s last game, a 63-41 home win over Albany Academy on Saturday.
“Definitely a little bummed [that Obokoh didn’t play] – you want to play everyone’s best,” said Weir. “We feel that if we play our game, we can beat anyone.”
“The way they shot it,” Boon said, “it wouldn’t have mattered [if Obokoh played]. You can’t let their shooters get open.”
Canisius senior point guard Aaron White had two three-pointers among his seven points while 6-8 senior Jamel Mosely was a key contributor with eight points inside.
“It was a great team win,” said MacDonald. “Jamel came out and gave us quality minutes.”
Canisius (3-1) has won three straight since last Tuesday’s loss to No. 1 small school Olean.
“We learned a lot from that,” said MacDonald. “We definitely moved on, but we definitely use that to fuel us.”
Kearney is now 1-2, with both of its losses coming in road games against the top two large schools in The News polls. Kearney, playing with Obokoh, lost at No. 1 Niagara Falls in overtime, 52-47, in both teams’ season opener on Dec. 7. Canisius is No. 2.
Asked about playing both teams, Boon said, “I’d like to watch that game [the teams do not meet this year] because I’d like to see how they go at each other. Falls has their quickness and [Jermaine] Crumpton, I think he’s gotten a lot better than last year. I was very impressed with him. And Weir, I just love the kid every year we play him. He’s just a player. That would be a fun game to watch.”