Quinnipiac (17-8) at Canisius (18-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 20, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Koessler Athletic Center (2,176) -- Buffalo, New York. Television: None. Home Record: Quinnipiac 10-2, Canisius 8-2. Away Record: Quinnipiac 6-6, Canisius 8-6. Neutral Record: Quinnipiac 1-0, Canisius 2-1. Conference Record: Quinnipiac 12-4, Canisius 12-4. Series Record: Canisius leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: A pair of teams battling for positioning at the top of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference meet up on Thursday when the Canisius Golden Griffins host the Quinnipiac Bobcats at the Koessler Athletic Center.
Both teams have a 12-4 mark in the MAAC, two games behind conference leader Iona. A win by either team would give the victor the inside track on a higher tournament seed with just three games left.
Canisius already holds a slim advantage over Quinnipiac, having defeated the Bobcats earlier this season on the road. Back on Jan. 30, Billy Baron logged 20 points as the Golden Griffins easily beat Quinnipiac 86-74. Zach Lewis added 17 points and Chris Perez scored 15 points for Canisius, which is just 3-2 in five games since. Zaid Hearst had a career-high 33 points for the Bobcats, who have not lost since this setback.
Quinnipiac's 5-0 record in February improved the school's mark to 12-1 the last two seasons in the month. Also, over course of the past six seasons, Tom Moore and the Bobcats have posted a 37-8 (.822) record in the month of February.
The Bobcats's most recent win came on Sunday when they defeated Saint Peter's 74-64. Ousmane Drame matched a career high 23 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to collect his 10th double-double of the season. Ike Azotam, who played the second-to-last home game of his storied career, notched his 41st career double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds, as Quinnipiac took control midway through the first half and cruised to the win.
Azotam leads the squad with 16.9 ppg and 11 rpg for the high-scoring Bobcats, who have four players average in double figures and score 79 ppg. Hearst (15.6), Umar Shannon (14.5) and Drame (13.1) round out the double-figure scores for Quinnipiac.
Canisius comes into this game off a 92-88 triple-overtime win over Siena on Sunday. Baron scored a career-high 40 points to go with 10 rebounds, five assists, two steals and a blocked shot, as the Golden Griffins have won two in a row after dropping consecutive contests.
Baron is the second-leading scorer in the MAAC and top scorer on the Golden Griffins, averaging 24.6 ppg. However, Perez (12.4) and Jordan Heath (10.4) are the only other double-figure scorers for Canisius.
Despite being the road team, the Bobcats have a serious chance to win this game. If they can hold Baron in check, they have been playing well enough of late to escape with the win.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Quinnipiac 74, Canisius 72
02/20 10:16:23 ET