Niagara (5-14) at Canisius (12-7)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, January 22, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Koessler Athletic Center (2,196) -- Buffalo, New York. Television: none. Home Record: Niagara 4-4, Canisius 6-0. Away Record: Niagara 1-8, Canisius 4-6. Neutral Record: Niagara 0-2, Canisius 2-1. Conference Record: Niagara 2-6, Canisius 6-2. Series Record: Niagara leads, 100-74.
GAME NOTES: The Canisius Golden Griffins look to remain unbeaten at home when they tangle with the struggling Niagara Purple Eagles in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference action at the Koessler Athletic Center.
The Golden Griffins haven't lost in six home dates this season, but are coming off a tough 83-82 defeat at Monmouth Sunday. Monmouth scored six points in the game's final nine seconds to snap Canisius' three-game conference winning streak. The Golden Griffins were led by Billy Baron with 21 points, six rebounds, six assists and four steals, but he was also charged with eight turnovers as the team saw a four-game win streak come to an end. Chris Perez pitched in with 18 points, Phil Valenti 16, Zach Lewis 13 points and Jordan Heath 10 in the losing cause.
Canisius has scored at least 80 points in four consecutive games for the first time since Feb. 12-25, 1994. They are averaging 85.7 points over their six home contests this season and have one of the top scorers in the nation in senior guard Baron (23.1 ppg). Heath (11.5 ppg), a senior center, had four blocks against Monmouth to give him 100 for his career. The Golden Griffins have been strong on the perimeter this season, as they sport four players shooting better than 40 percent from 3-point range in Baron, Heath, Perez and Lewis. Canisius comes into tonight's game shooting 41.4 percent from 3-point range. Baron leads the team and the MAAC by shooting 91.3 percent from the foul line. Chris Manhertz (5.9 rpg) leads the team on the glass, but Canisius has outrebounded an opponent only seven times this season.
The Purple Eagles wrap up their three-game road trip tonight following an 85-71 loss at Quinnipiac Saturday. Antoine Mason, who entered the contest leading the nation in scoring with 27.6 ppg, poured in 28 points on 9-of-19 shooting from the floor. Tahjere McCall chipped in 14 points and Rayvon Harris had 10 points. Marcus Ware came off the bench to contribute nine points and eight boards before fouling out.
Niagara leads the MAAC in turnover margin (+2.63) and is second in the MAAC with 7.8 steals per game. However, on the negative side, the Purple Eagles are shooting just 28 percent from 3-point range and have one of the worst defenses in the country. Ramone Snowden (9.1 ppg, 5.4 rpg) and Marvin Jordan (9.0 ppg) are also part of the starting lineup. Niagara is 4-0 this season when holding opponents to under 40 percent from the field, but that doesn't seem likely in this game.
Niagara is 18-4 versus the Golden Griffins since Feb. 12, 2003. Niagara has beaten Canisius in six of the last eight meetings, but this season's team for the Golden Griffins has plenty of offensive talent and will be a handful for the Purple Eagles. Heath will supply the power inside and Baron will be difficult to guard for Niagara, which is giving up an average of 84.3 ppg. That is one of the worst marks out of the 345 Division I teams.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Canisius 88, Niagara 70
01/22 10:36:06 ET