UMBC (4-22) at Canisius (4-22)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 18th, 2:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Koessler Athletic Center (2,176) -- Buffalo, New York. Television: None. Home Record: UMBC 1-10, Canisius 2-10. Away Record: UMBC 3-12, Canisius 2-12. Neutral Record: UMBC 0-0, Canisius 0-0. Conference Record: UMBC 3-11, Canisius 1-15. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAMES NOTES: The UMBC Retrievers of the America East Conference and the Canisius Golden Griffins of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference are paired in a BracketBuster matchup at the Koessler Athletic Center this afternoon.
UMBC is enduring a terrible season in which the Retrievers have managed just four total wins and a 3-11 mark in the America East. UMBC beat last place Binghamton on Wednesday for its first win this month in snapping a seven-game losing streak. The Retrievers will play their last home game of the season by hosting Boston University on Wednesday.
Canisius has an identical 4-22 record this season but has had less luck in conference play, as the Golden Griffins are just 1-15 in the MAAC this season. Canisius enters this game riding a 10-game losing streak that dates back to mid-January. The Golden Griffins will end the season with two road games beginning at Manhattan after this matchup.
UMBC overcame a poor shooting night in which it converted on only 39.7 percent of its shots from the floor by clamping down on defense and holding Binghamton to just 34.0 percent shooting in a 70-56 win over the Bearcats on Wednesday.
The strong defense was not something UMBC has been accustomed to this season as the Retrievers allow 77.4 points per game. The weak defense is combined with an offense that is scoring 64.0 points per game with a shooting percentage of .400 so far. A trio of scorers power the team's offensive output led by sophomore forward Chase Plummer (15.0 ppg, 7.3 rpg), who had a team- high 15 points against Binghamton to stretch his streak in double figures to nine games. Junior guard Ryan Cook (12.6 ppg) is the second part of the threesome, while Brian Neller (10.8 ppg) rounds out the trio.
Canisius came close to ending its losing streak against Niagara on Wednesday but came up short by dropping a 60-57 decision in overtime. Neither team recorded a field goal in the extra period but the Purple Eagles outscored the Golden Griffins 5-2 from the free-throw line to capture the win.
Canisius makes an even pairing with UMBC as the Golden Griffins are a similar offensive and defensive squad. Canisius is scoring 64.2 points per game this season while allowing 75.0 for a scoring differential of -10.8. The Golden Griffins are spearheaded by the play of junior guard Harold Washington (16.5 ppg, 4.3 rpg). On Wednesday it was Alshwan Hymes (14.6 ppg) that led the Golden Griffins, as he poured in 19 points as the only player in double figures. Gaby Belardo (11.5 ppg) can also score, while sophomore forward Chris Manhertz (7.3 ppg, 7.8 rpg) is the team's best interior player.
Perhaps not the most flashy pairing during BracketBuster weekend, this game does feature two teams that seem to match up evenly. Canisius has the edge thanks to its homecourt advantage and the benefit of having the best individual contributor in Washington.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Canisius 69, UMBC 62
02/18 10:41:50 ET