Gameday: Canisius vs. Ryerson (exhibition) 11/1/14

Ryerson University at Canisius (exhibition), 1 p.m., Koessler Athletic Center

By Nick Veronica

Canisius Golden Griffins: 0-0, 0-0 home.

Ryerson Rams: 7-0, 3-0 away.

First look: Today’s game is the first look we have at the Griffs ahead of what will be a rebuilding year. It is the first of two exhibitions ahead of the Nov. 15 opener, with the other coming against Daemen on Nov. 11. Winning an exhibition should never be in question, but the game should give us a look at how coach Jim Baron plans to attack the MAAC in his first season without his son Billy.

Who plays what?: Projected starting forward Phil Valenti is out with an ankle injury, freshman guard Raven Owen is out with a stress fracture, redshirt freshman forward Jermaine Crumpton will sit out both exhibitions due to a violation of team rules and Baron also mentioned at Big 4 Media Day that guard Jeremiah Williams was injured over the weekend.

Josiah Heath and maybe Kevin Bleeker will start at forward and Zach Lewis will be in at one of the guard spots. Baron said they’ve been trying a number players at point guard “by committee,” including, in the order he mentioned them, Kassius Robertson, Jan Grzelinski and Williams.

I asked Baron if he had thought about having Lewis play point guard.

“He’s part of the committee,” Baron said. “Everyone’s part of the committee. We’re looking at everybody.”

About Ryerson: Ryerson is a massive university in Toronto with 38,000 undergrads. The basketball team had its first game in August (?) and is undefeated against Canadian competition. The school website does not have up-to-date stats, but guards Jahmal Jones and Adika Peter-McNeilly have been leading the offensive surge. The Rams’ roster boast five players 6-foot-7 or better, while the Griffs have only three. The Rams coach is Roy Rana.

What to watch for: With Valenti and Crumpton out, Heath, Bleeker and Cassidy Ryan are the only active forwards. They’ll likely all log large minutes. The most floor time Heath had last season was 24 minutes in the 3OT game against Siena, so we’ll see how he responds to the increase in usage. The Griffs are counting on him to make a big leap this year.

How to follow the game: No live blog for this one, but I’ll have some updates Twitter and a blog or two after. There’s no link on Canisius site for an audio broadcast yet, but there may be one closer to game time.

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