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.
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.Follow @nickveronica