Canisius (1-1) at Rutgers (2-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Monday, November 18, 7:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: The RAC (8,000) -- Piscataway, New Jersey. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: Canisius 1-0, Rutgers 2-0. Away Record: Canisius 0-1, Rutgers 0-1. Neutral Record: Canisius 0-0, Rutgers 0-0. Conference Record: Canisius 0-0, Rutgers 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAMES NOTES: As part of the NIT Season Tip-Off, the Canisius Golden Griffins will pay a visit to the Rutgers Scarlet Knights for a non-conference brawl at the RAC.
This is the third game of the season for Canisius, which split its first two decisions. The Golden Griffins opened the campaign at home against South Dakota and earned a 71-66 victory. After that triumph, the Golden Griffins fell in blowout fashion on the road against St. Bonaventure (86-64).
Rutgers is off to a respectable start to the campaign, the first under head coach Eddie Jordan. The Scarlet Knights have won their first two games at home with victories over Florida A&M (92-84) and Yale. Those were sandwiched around a loss to UAB (79-76) on the road. Off to a 2-0 start at home this year, the Scarlet Knights would very much like to improve on a mediocre 9-7 finish at the RAC last season.
The winner of this contest will take on either Elon or Drexel.
There isn't any familiarity between these two programs as Monday marks the first-ever meeting between them.
Canisius hung around in the first half against St. Bonaventure but crumbled in the final 20 minutes in the loss. In the second half the Golden Griffins connected on just 35.5 percent of their shots from the floor, while the Bonnies were able to shoot at a 64.5 percent clip.
Billy Baron (25.0 ppg, 3.5 apg) continued his hot start to the season as he posted 23 points last time out. At times Baron can be a bit too selfish with the ball as he hit just 8-of-19 from the field against St. Bonaventure and has shot at a 41.2 percent clip on the season. Baron does lead the team in assists but gets the bulk of the opportunities in the Golden Griffin offense. Chris Perez (10.0 ppg) is the only other player scoring in double figures though he has also failed to be an extremely efficient scorers, shooting at just a 36.4 percent clip from the field. Jordan Heath (8.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg) is a reliable option in the post, hitting 72.7 percent of his shots from the field, while Chris Manhertz (5.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg) is still trying to find his rhythm on offense. Manhertz is shooting at a 30-percent clip and had only six points and four turnovers against St. Bonaventure.
Jordan's squad escaped a close call in its win over Yale. The Scarlet Knights trailed, 68-62, with less than two minutes to play but they clawed their way back thanks to an 8-2 run and then, with a pair of free throws from KaDeem Jack with 14 seconds to play, were able to take the lead and the win.
The Scarlet Knights have been shooting a solid 45.2 percent from the field this season, while averaging an even 80 points per game. Jordan would certainly like to see some improvements on defense though as the Scarlet Knights own a rather thin scoring margin (+1.7). Jack (19.7 ppg, 7.7 rpg) has been the go-to option with his ability to score down low. He also leads the team in rebounds and is netting 64.9 percent of his field goal attempts. Myles Mack (16.0 ppg, 4.3 apg, 2.7 spg) has been filling the stat sheet in the backcourt. J.J. Moore (14.5 ppg, 7.5 rpg) has fit in nicely in the starting lineup, while Wally Judge (7.3 ppg, 6.3 rpg) and Jerome Seagears (6.7 ppg, 2.7 apg) have been solid as complementary contributors.
Rutgers is getting plenty of experience playing in close games. The Scarlet Knights might have more breathing room in this one especially if they take advantage of their edge up front with Jack, Moore and Judge.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Rutgers 76, Canisius 67
11/18 10:33:11 ET