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Canisius vs. Niagara gameday 2/14/14

By Nick Veronica

Canisius heads up to Lewiston tonight for 9 p.m. game against rival Niagara that will be broadcast on ESPNU.

The teams: Canisius Golden Griffins: 16-9, 10-4 MAAC, 6-6 road. Streak: Lost two.

Niagara Purple Eagles: 6-19, 3-11 MAAC, 5-6 home. Streak: Lost four.

Last weekend: Canisius lost consecutive home games to Manhattan and Iona last weekend, losing a share of the MAAC lead.

Niagara was also swept by the same teams, and lost both games by one point in the final seconds.

About Niagara: If you know anything about Niagara, it’s probably about Antoine Mason, who leads the country in scoring at 26.3 points per game (Billy Baron is fifth). Mason will score at the basket and from range, but is also very effective at getting to the free-throw line, leading the country in both free throws made and attempted. No other Purple Eagles averages double-digit points per game, but Marvin Jordan (9.9 ppg) has a knack for playing very well against Canisius. Tahj McCall missed the first Canisius-Niagara game of the year after he nearly bit through his tongue and had to have stitches (it happened during basketball, not one of those Novocain horror stories) but will play this time.

Series history: Funny you should ask. Niagara leads the all-time series, but we’re not exactly sure of the record. I wrote a story for the Buffalo News this week looking into the history of the rivalry, and could confirm a record of at least 97-75 for Niagara. There were five games that I couldn’t confirm: two games Canisius thinks it won (in 1904 and 1906), two games Niagara thinks it won (1907 and 1910), and one game they both think they won (1920). Canisius has two straight wins in the series but lost five in a row before that.

Manhertz status: Canisius’ leading rebounder missed Sunday’s game against Iona due to a broken nose. He had a procedure to reset the bones this week and had a custom face mask made but there is no official word yet on his status.

UPDATE: Manhertz will not play tonight for Canisius.

MAAC standings:

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Teams play 20 conference games.

How to follow the game:

I’ll have coverage from the Gallagher Center, so follow on Twitter while you’re suffering through a Valentine’s Day dinner. If you’re at a restaurant with televisions, have them flip to ESPNU. Doug Sherman and Mo Cassara have the call.

Manhertz will have procedure for nose, hopes to play vs. Niagara

[Immediate reactions + Postgame interviews]

By Nick Veronica

Manhertz returned to Friday's game wearing a face mask. Photo by @kfpxp.

Manhertz returned to Friday’s game wearing a face mask. Photo by @kfpxp.

Chris Manhertz wore a sweater instead of a jersey Sunday and could only watch as Canisius lost to Iona, 101-91.

Manhertz suffered a broken nose in Friday’s game against Manhattan and will need a procedure this week to properly reset the bones.

Manhertz returned to Friday’s game wearing a face mask but Canisius coach Jim Baron said there was no chance of him playing Sunday.

“He wasn’t playing at all. He was out,” Baron said when asked how close Manhertz was to playing. “That never even entered into anybody’s mind. He’s got a broken nose.”

Baron said early in his press conference that Manhertz “[broke] two bones in his face,” but a Canisius spokesman later clarified that to mean the nose was broken in two places.

Manhertz will also get a mold of his face taken this week for a custom-fitted face mask, which should provide more visibility. He hopes to play in the final Niagara game of his career on Friday night (9 p.m., ESPNU).

“We’ll see,” Baron said of Manhertz’s status for Friday. “We’ll evaluate it this week.”

Phil Valenti got his first career start in place of Manhertz and performed admirably, making 7 of 13 shots for 15 points, pulling in nine rebounds and adding four assists in 36 minutes as the Griffs rolled seven players.

Valenti said he learned he would be starting Saturday night.

Without Manhertz, final rebounds Sunday were only 39-38 in favor of Iona, but his defensive presence may have been missed most of all. Iona was credited with only 34 points in the paint but the Gaels offense was never really contained. Iona scored 101 points, two shy of the all-time record for an opponent at the Koessler Athletic Center (103 by Saint Peters, Feb. 19, 2004).

Manhertz had played 103 consecutive games for the Griffs. He leads the team in rebounding with 6.4 per game and scores 8.1 points per game.

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Immediate reactions: Iona 101, Canisius 91

[Manhertz update + Postgame interviews]

By Nick Veronica

How it happened: A back-and-forth game was settled by Iona’s offense late in the contest. The Gaels never stopped scoring and took the lead for good with a 10-2 run that gave them a 10-point lead at 87-77 with three minutes to go. The run was capped when A.J. English missed a three-pointer badly but Sean Armand got the rebound for an easy bucket, and DaShawn Gomez followed it up with a three. Canisius played well without Chris Manhertz, who missed the game with a broken nose, but could never really contain Iona’s offense.

Chris Perez led Canisius with 25 points and Billy Baron had 24 while Jordan Heath and Phil Valenti just missed double-doubles. Armand, Iona’s leading scorer, was kept quiet most of the game and finished with 10 points but English and David Laury stepped up in his place, finishing with 32 and 23 points, respectively. Canisius rolled seven players in the absence of Chris Manhertz.

What it means: Iona gained two games of separation atop the MAAC, improving to 12-2. Canisius lost back-to-back games for the second time this season and both losses this weekend came against fellow conference title contenders. The Griffs fall to 10-4 in the conference with six games to go. Improving on defense will continue to be a point of emphasis.

Manhertz out, Valenti plays well: Canisius’ leading rebounder Chris Manhertz missed the game with a broken nose he suffered Friday against Manhattan. Phil Valenti got his first career start in Manhertz’s place and finished with 15 points, nine rebounds, four assists and no turnovers in 34 minutes (his career high is 16 pts). While he was effective, Valenti didn’t provide Manhertz’s strength on defense. Total rebounds in the game were 39-38 Iona.

Lewis takes a tumble: Zach Lewis was bumped on a fast break midway through the second half and went down hard, holding his left shoulder. A flagrant foul was assessed Isaiah Williams. Lewis checked back in shortly after.

MAAC standings: Manhattan edged Niagara today, 78-77, for Niagara’s second consecutive one-point loss. With six games to play, here is how the top of the conference shapes up:

Iona 12-2
Canisius 10-4
Manhattan 10-4
Quinnipiac 9-4
Rider 8-6

Attendance: This game was officially listed as a sellout with 2,196 people in attendance, which is why you don’t trust announced attendances. It was a good Sunday crowd, but there were empty seats.

Hall of Fame Day: Former Canisius basketball player Brian Dux was inducted into the school Hall of Fame today. If you don’t know his story, I suggest spending a few minutes Googling his name. Other members inducted Sunday were Derrick Bishop (hockey), Mark Miyashita (men’s lacrosse), Jill Wright (synchronized swimming) and the 1994 softball team. Dr. Keith Stube (team physician) was awarded the first Rev. Paul J. Dugan, S.J. Award, which recognizes individuals for significant contributions to Canisius athletics.

Next game: Canisius heads up to Niagara on Friday for a 9 p.m. Valentine’s Day game that will be broadcast on ESPNU.

Canisius’ Manhertz out vs. Iona with broken nose

By Nick Veronica

Canisius will be without leading rebounder Chris Manhertz for today’s game against Iona.

Manhertz broke his nose during Friday’s game against Manhattan. He finished the game with a protective mask but couldn’t go for today’s 2 p.m. contest.

Canisius will have eight players available for the game unless a redshirt candidate makes his first appearance of the year.

Manhertz, a 6-foot-6 senior, leads the Griffs with 6.4 rebounds per game and adds 8.1 points per game. This absence breaks his streak of 103 consecutive games played.

UPDATE: Canisius is getting Manhertz fitted for a custom face mask (as opposed to the stock mask he wore Friday) and he hopes to play against Niagara this coming Friday (and hopes to get more visibility out of the new mask). His face looks fairly swollen today and he has a nice shiner, about what you’d expect for someone with a broken nose.

Watch Chris Manhertz level Fairfield’s K.J. Rose with huge screen

By Nick Veronica

Chris Manhertz set a screen for Dominique Raney late in the first half of Saturday’s Canisius-Fairfield game, and poor K.J. Rose never saw it coming.

I don’t know if my favorite part is the “oohhhhh” from the fans or the reaction on the Fairfield bench, where one coach is like ‘come on, that did not just happen,’ and the other one wants his guys to keep playing defense.

Rose, a freshman, is listed at 6-foot-1, 190 pounds. Manhertz is 6-6, 235. No wonder Canisius color man Dave Schofield likened it to running into a brick wall.

Thanks to reader Eric Tesauro for sending me the video. He has highlights from the game on YouTube (this play starts at 3:25).

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