By Nick Veronica
The teams: Canisius Golden Griffins 16-8, 10-3 MAAC, 8-1 home. RPI: 93. Streak: Lost one, won four of five.
Iona Gaels: 14-8, 11-2 MAAC, 6-6 road. RPI: 97. Streak: Won six.
Previous game: Canisius lost its first home game of the season on Friday, falling 84-73 to Manhattan in a game it was outmuscled from start to finish. The Jaspers opened an early 15-1 lead and Canisius never led.
Iona looked as if it was going to be upset by Niagara Friday night, but overcame a late, double-digit deficit to eek out a 90-89 victory to stay on top of the conference standings.
About Iona: Iona ranks ninth nationally in scoring and Sean Armand is the man who makes the team tick. He dropped 24 on Canisius last year while eliminating them from the MAAC tournament and had 19 in their first meeting this year. Armand is fourth in the conference at 18.6 ppg and is followed by sophomore A.J. English, who scores 17.6 ppg. Five players average double-digit points, while Daivid Laury cleans up the glass with 7.4 rebounds per game. Iona is known more for fast-paced play than for defense, so expect a high-scoring game.
What’s at stake: Canisius and Iona entered the weekend tied for first in the MAAC at 10-2. The Griffs lost to Manhattan Friday and need this game to keep pace for first place. A win for Iona would put them two games up in the conference, the largest lead any team has had on first place so far. With a loss, Canisius could join Manhattan and Quinnipiac as four-loss teams in the conference with six games to play.
Recent history: I touched on it earlier — their first meeting this season was an emotional one for Billy Baron, getting back at Iona for ending Canisius’ season last year. He scored 29 points as Canisius blew a 20-point lead and had to come back for a victory in mid-January. If there’s one thing these teams can do, it’s score. Take the over.
Wild card: Sean Armand does not like snow.
No live blog today but you can follow along on Twitter @NickVeronica.