Canisius reopens MAAC play today with a 2 p.m. contest against Saint Peter’s, facing the Peacocks for the second time in the last month. Canisius won the Dec. 6 meeting, 82-67, behind a career-high 28 points from Jordan Heath.
A win today would give the Griffs a 3-0 start in conference play for the first time since the 1994-95 season, when they opened 5-0 in the MAAC and later advanced to the NIT.
The teams: Canisius: 8-5, 2-0 MAAC, 2-4 road. RPI: 99. Streak: Lost one.
Saint Peter’s Peacocks: 4-8, 0-3 MAAC, 2-2 home. RPI: 281. Streak: Lost one.
Previous game: Canisius huffed and puffed but couldn’t blown Notre Dame’s dome down last Saturday, losing 87-81 in overtime.
Saint Peter’s lost to Manhattan at home on Thursday, 74-62. Four Peacocks scored in double digits but the team shot only 29.8 percent from the field and 21.4 percent from three-point range.
About Saint Peter’s: Junior forward Marvin Dominique leads the Peacocks at 18.5 points per game, good for fifth in the MAAC (Billy Baron is fourth). He had one of his best games of the season last time he played the Griffs, going off for 25 points and 10 rebounds. Desi Washington is second on the team in scoring at 13.4 ppg and led the team with 17 against Manhattan. Dominique also leads the Saint Peter’s in rebounding (9.8), which could be a factor today against the MAAC’s worst rebounding team.
Series history: Canisius has a three-game winning streak against Saint Peter’s after sweeping the season series last year, but the Peacocks took nine of 10 before that. Eighth-year coach John Dunne is 76-151 at Saint Peter’s but 9-6 against Canisius, including 5-2 at home.
The takeaway: The first two items on the Griffs’ agenda this weekend are 1) make sure they don’t carry the letdown of the Notre Dame game with them, and 1a) don’t overlook this road trip because it has two fairly winnable games (Canisius plays Marist on Monday). After that, this weekend might be a good time to put some extra focus on getting the rebounding in order, since the opponents aren’t particularly threatening on offense (SPU shoots .412 from the field and Marist is even lower at .382).
Canisius is currently last in the MAAC in rebounding average, pulling in only 32.5 per game. In the last 10 years, no team that was last in the league in rebounding finished higher than sixth place in the final standings, per IAGS research. Over that same time, only one team finished atop the conference while being in the bottom half of the league in rebounding (Manhattan was eighth in 2003-04). There’s still time to fix this problem, but it needs to happen soon.
How to follow the game: It looks like MAAC.TV is the only video today. According to the Canisius media guide, Jay Moran is off and Matt Reitnour of the athletic communications department will handle play-by-play duties for the radio feed. This Twitter list should be active during the game.Follow @nickveronica