By Nick Veronica
The teams: Canisius: 13-7, 7-2 MAAC, 7-0 home. RPI: 90. Streak: Won one, won four of five.
Marist Red Foxes: 6-13, 3-6 MAAC, 1-7 road. RPI: 255. Streak: Lost one, four of five.
Marist lost at Niagara Friday night, 80-74. The Red Foxes did their darndest to slow down Mason, the country’s leading scorer, but he took what they gave him and set up shop from behind the arc, finishing with 21 points. Chavaughn Lewis led Marist with 25 points and 8 rebounds.
About Marist: It’s been and up-and-down year for first-year coach Jeff Bower. His Red Foxes lost their first nine games, then won five straight, finishing the streak with a win against Canisius. But since that game, Marist has lost four of five, all in-conference, and was beaten by Niagara Friday night.
Lewis leads the team at 17.1 ppg while freshman Khallid Hart is second at 13.4. Big man Adam Kemp leads the team with 7.6 rebounds per game.
Recent history: Canisius started 3-0 in the MAAC before losing at Marist on Jan. 6, 65-62. The game was close throughout but after Baron’s 27 points, no one else had more than 11. Canisius made a season-low five free throws in that game. Lewis and Hart scored 19 apiece for Marist, Jay Bowie had 18 and no one on the Marist bench scored. Canisius leads the series 4-3 over the last four seasons.
National scoring list: Baron is now fourth nationally in scoring with 23.5 ppg. He was jumped by BYU’s Tyler Haws, who dropped 48 points on Portland Thursday in a triple-OT loss.
Wild card: If the Red Foxes start slow … they didn’t exactly have a pasta dinner before the game.
The takeaway: Marist is 338th in the country in field goal percentage (.395) and 288th in three-point percentage (.314). If Canisius can get ahead early, Marist isn’t likely to shoot the lights out and come back. We’ll watch to see if Chris Manhertz can repeat his performance from Wednesday, when he had his 11th career double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds and led the team in assists for the second time in his career (four). We’ll also see if Zach Lewis can bounce back from a down game, where he was 2-for-7 shooting for 4 points.
I haven’t done a live blog in a while, let’s go for it. Check back at about 1:45 p.m.Follow @nickveronica