St. Bonaventure (2-0) at Canisius (1-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 17, 4 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Koessler Athletic Center (2,176) -- Buffalo, New York. Television: None. Home Record: St. Bonaventure 1-0, Canisius 1-0. Away Record: St. Bonaventure 1-0, Canisius 0-0. Neutral Record: St. Bonaventure 0-0, Canisius 0-0. Conference Record: St. Bonaventure 0-0, Canisius 0-0. Series Record: St. Bonaventure leads, 97-63.
GAME NOTES: The Canisius Golden Griffins continue their season-long three-game homestand on Saturday afternoon when they take on the St. Bonaventure Bonnies at the Koessler Athletic Center in Buffalo, New York.
St. Bonaventure opened its season with a 65-55 home win over Bethune-Cookman, then followed that up with an impressive road win over Cornell, 72-68. The Bonnies are now 2-0 for the first time since the 2008-09 campaign, and for just the second time since the 2003-04 season.
Canisius began its season on Monday night with an 83-75 victory over Boston University, winning for the second time in its last two home openers, with the last, incidentally coming against St. Bonaventure to open the 2010-11 campaign. It was a very encouraging start for a Griffins squad that won just five of their 30 games a year ago.
These two Western New York teams have a storied history against one another, with the Bonnies holding a 97-63 advantage.
The Bonnies led by as many as 14 points in the second half before allowing Cornell to climb its way back into the game late, and the Big Red even had a trip to the foul line in the final minute that would have tied the game but it wasn't meant to be. It wasn't a pretty performance for St. Bonaventure, which hit just 41.5 percent of its field goal attempts (including 2-of-14 from three points range), and while it attempted 42 free throws, it only converted 26 of them (.619). The Bonnies were saved by the effort of Chris Johnson, who tallied a game-high 19 points and hit all seven of his foul shots. The big night now gives Johnson a a team-leading 14 ppg through the first two contests. Demitrius Conger scored 14 points, all of which came in the second half, and he added six rebounds and three assists, while Marquise Simmons came off the bench to net 14 points as well. After tallying 13 points in the opener, Matthew Wright finished with just seven points but made up for it by dishing out five assists.
Canisius was one of the worst shooting teams in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference last season, connecting on just 40.7 percent of its field goal attempts, so a 53.6 percent effort from the floor in Jim Baron's debut as head coach was certainly a welcomed sign. Harold Washington led the Griffins by draining 8-of-12 of his field goal attempts en route to 22 points, his 10th career game scoring at least 20 points. The senior also grabbed six rebounds, logged three steals, and hit three of the team's nine three-pointers. Billy Baron, transfer from Rhode Island, also had a great game in his debut with the Griffs with 21 points, six boards and a career-high eight assists. Leading the charge off the bench was Alshwan Hymes, who went 3-of-4 from beyond the arc. Canisius took very good care of the basketball with just 10 turnovers, its fewest in a game since Dec. 28, 2011 against Binghamton.
The Baron-era for Canisius has gotten off to a fine start, and it expects to take a step up from the MAAC cellar to a team of relevance this season. The Griffs should play well in their own building, but the Bonnies are the more talented team overall.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: St. Bonaventure 66, Canisius 60
11/17 10:35:17 ET