Canisius (19-13) at Youngstown State (18-15)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, March 23, 7:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Beeghly Center (6,300) -- Youngstown, Ohio. Television: None. CIT Record: Canisius 1-0, YSU 1-0. Series Record: Canisius leads, 3-0.
GAME NOTES: With both squads coming off historic wins, the Canisius Golden Griffins and the Youngstown State Penguins meet up in the second round of the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament on Saturday afternoon at the Beeghly Center.
In defeating Elon in the first round of this event, 69-53, Canisius moved to 19-13 on the season. After going just 5-25 in 2011-12, the 14-win differential marks the largest single-season turnaround in school history. The triumph was also the Griffs' first postseason win since beating Washington State in the quarterfinal round of the NIT in March of 1995.
After losing three of its last four games to close out the regular season, YSU opened up the CIT in strong fashion with a 99-87 win over Oakland on its home floor for its first-ever Division I postseason victory. The Penguins' 18-15 overall record is the squad's best ledger in head coach Jerry Slocum's eight- year tenure.
Canisius has beaten YSU in all three meetings in the all-time series, most recently winning in Youngstown on Nov. 28, 2006, 71-59.
The Griffs opened up a 12-point halftime advantage over Elon in the first round and their lead was never in question from that point forward. More important than their solid night shooting from the field (.441) was their outstanding defense, which held the Phoenix to less than 30 percent shooting. Harold Washington paced five teammates in double figures with 19 points on 7- of-10 from the floor. Jordan Heath tallied 13 points and five blocks, Isaac Sosa netted 11 points, while Billy Baron (seven assists) and Josiah Heath (six rebounds) rounded out the balanced effort with 10 points apiece. Canisius is no stranger to strong scoring efforts, as it was one of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference's top offensive teams with 72.9 ppg. Baron is a multi- dimensional asset with 16.7 ppg, 5.1 apg, 4.1 rpg and nearly a steal per game. Washington scores 13.9 ppg, Sosa (11.9 ppg) is potent from 3-point range (92- of-227, .405), and both Heath (9.6 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 1.7 bpg) and Chris Manhertz (7.7 ppg, 8.9 rpg) are solid in the low post.
YSU was able to outlast Oakland in its first-round shootout by putting together a school-record performance from beyond the arc, making 18-of-35 from 3-point distance. Kendrick Perry made a career-best six 3-pointers for 31 points, while chipping in eight rebounds and five assists for good measure. Blake Allen was also busy from long range (7-of-13) en route to a career-high 27 points. Kamren Belin tallied 16 points and nine rebounds. Damian Eargle made an impact on both ends of the floor with 12 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks, while Bobby Hain came off the bench to pour in 11 points. While the latest performance was the Penguins' best offensive output of the year, they are typically a strong scoring team with 71.0 ppg. Perry is the catalyst with 17.2 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 4.0 apg and 1.9 spg, showing excellent marksmanship from the foul line (.846). Allen brings 12.0 ppg to the table, Eargle (11.7 ppg, 6.4 rpg) is an elite shot blocker with 3.3 per outing, and Belin adds 11.0 ppg and 5.3 rpg to the balanced effort.
These two squads are very well matched with strong, deep offensive attacks. However, YSU gets the leg up in this one playing at the Beeghly Center, where it has gone 12-4 this season.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Youngstown State 75, Canisius 69
03/23 10:37:27 ET