Canisius (1-0) at St. Bonaventure (2-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 16, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Reilly Center (5,480) -- Olean, New York. Television: None. Home Record: Canisius 1-0, St. Bonaventure 2-0. Away Record: Canisius 0-0, St. Bonaventure 0-0. Neutral Record: Canisius 0-0, St. Bonaventure 0-0. Conference Record: Canisius 0-0, St. Bonaventure 0-0. Series Record: St. Bonaventure leads, 96-65.
GAME NOTES: St. Bonaventure is set to close out a three-game homestand this evening at the Reilly Center as it welcomes a familiar foe to town in Canisius.
The Bonnies are off to a solid start to 2013-14 with two wins in as many tries, although the visiting talent really hasn't been overwhelming. The first victim last weekend was South Dakota in a 68-46 final, while the Bonnies followed that up with a 75-47 triumph over Abilene Christian.
Meanwhile, the Golden Griffins also clashed with South Dakota to open the campaign and like the Bonnies picked up a win, although Canisius only managed a five-point advantage, 71-66. Dating back to 1940, the Griffs now have a record of 52-21 in home openers.
One of the longest-running rivalries for the Bonnies, this game marks the 162nd matchup dating back to the very first season of basketball for St. Bonaventure in 1920-21. At the moment, Canisius trails by a count of 96-65. The 96 wins are the most for the Bonnies against any school.
Canisius shot a disappointing 36.4 percent from the field in the opener, only slightly better than the squad's 35.7 percent effort behind the 3-point line, yet the Griffins still played well enough at both ends of the floor to come up with the victory. Billy Baron carried much of the load with a game-high 27 points, thanks to 5-of-9 beyond the arc and 10-of-11 at the charity stripe. Jordan Heath pitched in with 12 points and eight rebounds in a game that featured nine ties and 16 lead changes.
Clearly the central figure for the Golden Griffins again this season, Baron was responsible for 17.2 points and 5.0 assists per game a year ago and because of that he became the first player in program history to be named the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Preseason Player of the Year.
The Bonnies had all but one of their starters score in double figures versus Abilene Christian and he, Marquise Simmons, finished with nine points as the team captured the lopsided win at home. Matthew Wright led the way with a double-double consisting of 15 points and 10 rebounds, followed by Jordan Gathers with 14 points and five assists, the latter also hitting the only two triples of the match for the hosts. Youssou Ndoye and Charlon Kloof chipped in with 12 and 11 points, respectively.
Through the first two games of the season, Kloof is leading a group of five players, all of them starters, in double figures with his 13.5 ppg. Gathers checks in with 12.5 ppg as a 52.6 percent shooter from the field, followed by Wright, Simmons and Ndoye with 10.5 ppg each. Wright is also responsible for 7.0 rpg, which is an area that he should continue to pursue given that he has missed all eight of his 3-point tries.
Even though Baron is a fantastic player in his own right, a team needs more than just a single star in order to shine. With that said, expect the balanced scoring attack from the Bonnies to take care of business in this meeting.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: St. Bonaventure 72, Canisius 63
11/16 10:39:25 ET