Canisius (5-1) at Marist (3-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, December 9, 2 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: McCann Arena (3,200) -- Poughkeepsie, New York. Television: None. Home Record: Canisius 3-0, Marist 1-1. Away Record: Canisius 2-1, Marist 1-2. Neutral Record: Canisius 0-0, Marist 1-2. Conference Record: Canisius 1-0, Marist 1-0. Series Record: Marist leads, 20-15.
GAME NOTES: The first weekend of Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference action wraps up on Sunday afternoon when the Marist Red Foxes host the Canisius Golden Griffins at McCann Arena.
The start of Canisius' season has been far greater than anyone could have expected, as it has won five of its first six games, which already matches its win total from the entire 2011-12 season. The Griffins opened up their conference schedule on Friday night, earning a very impressive road victory over Fairfield, 67-55.
The first month of Marist's campaign hasn't been nearly as memorable, as it has yet to win back-to-back games. The Red Foxes returned home on Friday for the first time since its season opener on Nov. 9 and snapped a two-game losing streak by defeating Manhattan, 62-58, in their MAAC opener.
Marist has a small advantage in this New York state rivalry, 20-15. The teams split the series last season, with each squad winning on the road.
Canisius has been great on the offensive end of the floor, ranking second in the MAAC in field goal percentage (.453), free throw percentage (.755), and scoring offense (75.2 ppg), while its plus-6.8 scoring margin is tops in the league. The Griffins showed prowess on both ends of the floor in their 12- point win over Fairfield, shooting 48.8 percent from the field (including 9- of-16 from three-point range) while holding Fairfield to under 40 percent shooting. Harold Washington and Billy Baron both had outstanding scoring nights with 19 points apiece, and while Chris Manhertz scored just two points, he helped the Griffs win the rebounding battle by pulling down 11 boards. Baron, a transfer from Rhode Island, has been a huge reason for the team's turnaround this year, as he's tallying 18.0 ppg, 4.2 rpg, and 5.2 apg. With Washington also off to a strong start (.508 field goal percentage, 17.5 ppg), Canisius has one of the best one-two scoring punches in the league. Jordan Heath has also been productive with 10.2 ppg and 5.0 rpg.
While Canisius has flourished on the offensive end of the court, Marist has floundered, making just 37.1 percent of its field goal attempts for 55.1 ppg, more than 10 ppg less than its opponents. Things worked out a little better for the Red Foxes in their latest game, shooting 46.2 percent from the field in the win over Manhattan. Devin Price scored 14 points, and in the process he became the 28th player in school history to score 1,000 career points. Chavaughn Lewis led the way with 17 points, Jay Bowie shot 3-of-3 from beyond the arc en route to 11 points, and Isaiah Morton added 10 points and five assists. On the season, only Price scores in double digits on a regular basis (13.5 ppg), but he does so on a woeful 30.5 percent from the floor. Kemp (6.8 ppg) records a team-best 7.4 rpg, but as a team the Foxes get outmanned on the boards by more than 7.0 rpg.
Despite a rough start to the season, Marist was able to get its conference schedule off on the right foot on Friday, but it will have its hands full with a potent Canisius squad. The Griffs haven't been intimidated on the road on the young season, and they'll use their dynamic scoring duo of Baron and Washington to power past the Red Foxes.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Canisius 78, Marist 68
12/09 10:31:58 ET