The St. Lawrence University men's basketball team opened 2014 in impressive fashion, opening Saturday's game against SUNY Canton on a 17-0 run en route to an 81-70 non-conference victory in the Burkman Gymnasium. Rookie Kyle Edwards had 16 points, four rebounds and three assists, while junior Brady Condlin added a double-double (17 points, 11 rebounds).
The Saints (3-5) opened up the big cushion in the opening minutes thanks to five three pointers, as the team was 7-for-14 in the first half from behind the arc. The Kangaroos (0-8) struggled from the field early, but finally got on the scoreboard 7:02 into the half.
"We started out really strong and got some good looks," said St. Lawrence head coach Chris Downs. "We knew they'd push back, and they did, but I thought we handled the momentum of the game well and never let the lead get fewer than eight."
Despite the 17-0 run, Canton refused to fold and kept the game manageable at intermission trailing by 11 at 36-25 behind seven points from Khalil Bratton, two of which came on a last-second lay-up before the break.
Both teams played a faster pace and shot the ball better in the second half. St. Lawrence shot 56% from the field to keep its lead intact, as Janpeter Brase came to life with 13 points in the paint while Edwards added 10 of his 16 in the period. Canton's Sam Annorh had a huge second half with 17 points, while Rashad Richardson helped the Roos with 10 points as well.
Annorh, who was a perfect 11-for-11 in the game at the free throw line, made four straight at the charity stripe to bring SUNY Canton within eight at 58-50 with 9:14 to go. After the Saints turned the ball over, the Roos had a chance to make it a five-point game, but Tom Coloney's three missed.
The Saints would weather the storm, as Edwards and fellow first-year Kyle Kobis added lay-ups to open the lead back up to 11 at 64-53. When the Roos pushed back to make it 64-56 with under 6:00 minutes left, it was Brase in the paint to end the momentum and keep the advantage in double-digits. Canton was unable to get defensive stops and put a run together, as the teams exchanged points down the stretch to the 81-70 final.
Four players on each side finished in double-digits, with Annorh closing with a game-high 19 points for the Roos. Condlin (17), Edwards (16), Brase (13) and Al Jones (12) closed in double-digits for St. Lawrence, which was 9-for-20 from behind the arc to Canton's 4-of-17 mark. Kobis led the Saints with four assists, while Edwards added a pair of steals.
St. Lawrence will be in action again on Tuesday evening when the Saints head to Elmira College to take on the Soaring Eagles. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:00pm.