FACTS & STATS: Site: Hynes Athletic Center (9,000) -- New Rochelle, New York. Television: None. Home Record: Canisius 6-1, Iona 5-0. Away Record: Canisius 4-5, Iona 4-3. Neutral Record: Canisius 0-0, Iona 1-3. Conference Record: Canisius 3-2, Iona 4-1. Series Record: Iona leads, 37-31.
GAME NOTES: Jim Baron takes aim at his 400th career win as his Canisius Golden Griffins square off with the Iona Gaels in a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tilt at the Hynes Athletic Center on Sunday.
The Golden Griffins improved to 8-2 with a road upset of the Temple Owls earlier, but they have since stumbled and dropped to a 10-6 overall record on Friday when they were beat at the buzzer by Siena. Canisius still has twice as many wins as it amassed all of last season. After concluding this two-game road trip, Canisius will return home to host Manhattan.
Iona is currently in a three-way tie for first place in the MAAC after earning an 86-82 decision over Marist on Thursday. The victory improved the Gaels to 10-6 overall including their 4-1 mark in MAAC play.Iona will remain at home its next time out to host the Fairfield Stags.
This will be the 59th meeting in history between these schools. Iona owns a 31-27 edge in the all-time series.
The Golden Griffins were in control early on versus the Saints and held a seven-point lead at intermission, but Rakeem Brookins came up in the clutch by knocking down a 3-pointer in the closing seconds to lift Siena to a 57-54 victory. The low scoring output by Canisius was unusual, as the program has been thriving offensively under Baron in his first year at the helm of the program. It has been quite a turnaround on the offensive end for Canisius this season. The Golden Griffins are scoring nearly nine points more per game (73.2) than they did a year ago and connecting on 43.6 percent of their shots from the field which is also a decent improvement. Billy Baron, who transferred from Rhode Island, has been a major catalyst for Canisius by leading the team in scoring (17.1 ppg) and the MAAC in assists (5.6 apg). Harold Washington (13.0 ppg) and Isaac Sosa (11.9 ppg) can also score well, while Chris Manhertz (6.7 ppg, 8.8 rpg) battles in the paint.
The Gaels not only have the MAAC's leading scorer in Lamont Jones (22.9 ppg), but they also have the third best point producer in the league in Sean Armand (18.1 ppg). The dynamic duo is a big part of the reason Iona paces the conference and ranks eighth in the nation with 81.6 points per game. The dangerous attack was exhibited in the triumph over the Red Foxes. In addition to Jones's 26-point eruption, Armand added 14 points and seven rebounds, while David Laury chipped in 14 points. Iona overcame a halftime deficit for the third straight game to win its fourth in a row.
The Golden Griffins have shown that they are much better this season under their new coach, but they have a tough task ahead of them in this one, as Iona is undefeated at home and very adept on the offensive end. The dynamic duo for the Gaels should be able to guide their squad to another win.