Canisius (8-5) at Saint Peter's (4-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 4, 2 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Yanitelli Center (3,200) -- Jersey City, New Jersey. Television: None. Home Record: Canisius 4-0, SPC 2-2. Away Record: Canisius 4-5, SPC 2-6. Neutral Record: Canisius 0-0, SPC 0-0. Conference Record: Canisius 2-0, SPC 0-3. Series Record: Canisius leads, 36-31.
GAME NOTES: A Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference duel is set for the Yanitelli Center on Saturday afternoon, as the Canisius Golden Griffins pay a visit to the Saint Peter's Peacocks.
Canisius nearly notched a major upset when it last hit the floor, but eventually fell short in an 87-81 overtime loss at Notre Dame. The setback ended a modest two-game win streak for the Golden Griffins, who are 8-5 overall but already off to a 2-0 start in MAAC play. Canisius will head north to face Marist next.
Saint Peter's has had just two days to recover from a 74-62 home loss to Manhattan. The setback on Thursday was the Peacocks' second in the last three games, and dropped them to just 4-8 overall, including a winless mark in two MAAC bouts. Up next, SPC will play at Fairfield.
This is actually a rematch of a game played earlier this season. Canisius had the upper hand in that matchup, besting Saint Peters in an 82-67 final at the Koessler Athletic Center. The Golden Griffs have won three straight against the Peacocks, and lead the all-time series, 36-31.
Billy Baron poured in 33 points and Jordan Heath (13 points, 11 rebounds) and Chris Manhertz (12 points, 11 rebounds) each had double-doubles, but it was not enough for Canisius to topple Notre Dame. The Golden Griffins ran out of gas in the extra session, connecting on just 2-of-6 field goal attempts, to suffer the defeat.
For most players, scoring more than 30 points would be a career achievement, never to be matched. Not so for Baron. The senior guard, who has also played for Rhode Island and Virginia during his collegiate career, is averaging 21 ppg and has reached the 30-point plateau twice in the last three games. He has not been just a selfish scorer though, leading the team with 4.7 apg as well. Baron is aided by Heath (11.6 ppg, 5.2 rpg) and Chris Perez (11.1 ppg) when it comes to offensive production, an area the Golden Griffins are not overly successful in, ranking sixth in the league right now (74.3 pg).
With more turnovers (17) than field goals (14) against Manhattan, Saint Peter's didn't give itself much of a chance. The Peacocks were only able to stick around thanks to 39 chances at the free-throw line, 31 of which they converted.
Clearly scoring does not come easily for the Peacocks, as they are netting just 65.8 ppg and shooting 41.2 percent from the floor. Hindering their effectiveness has been a lack of ball movement, with the team averaging just 9.8 apg. Marvin Dominique (18.5 ppg, 9.8 rpg) is a top-tier talent in the MAAC, but he gets very little help. The 6-foot-7 forward is nearly averaging a double-double, and he has six such efforts under his belt already. Desi Washington (13.4 ppg) shoots 38.2 percent from the field, but is the only other player putting in more than seven ppg at the moment.
Baron and the Griffins have proven they can shoot effectively even in a hostile environment. Canisius should win rather easily.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Canisius 78, Saint Peter's 65
01/04 10:44:55 ET