Canisius (9-5) at Marist (4-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Monday, January 6, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: McCann Arena (3,200) -- Poughkeepsie, New York. Television: None. Home Record: Canisius 4-0, Marist 3-2. Away Record: Canisius 5-5, Marist 1-4. Neutral Record: Canisius 0-0, Marist 0-3. Conference Record: Canisius 3-0, Marist 1-2. Series Record: Canisius leads, 20-15.
GAME NOTES: The suddenly hot Marist Red Foxes will attempt to keep rolling along, as they host the Canisius Golden Griffins in a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference showdown at McCann Arena on Monday night.
To this point, three MAAC teams have tried to top Canisius and all three have failed. On Saturday, the Golden Griffins topped Saint Peter's, 67-63, to improve to 3-0 in league action and 9-5 overall. The victory also evened their mark on the road at 5-5. Canisius will be back home for the next two games, taking on Rider and Monmouth.
After losing its first nine games of the season, Marist has fought its way back, taking victories in four straight, including a 75-56 rout of Fairfield last Thursday. The victory was also the first in league play for the Red Foxes, who are 3-2 at home but will visit Siena and Manhattan in their next two outings.
Canisius won both meetings last season between these two clubs, and has won four of the last five overall. As a result, the Golden Griffins lead the all- time series by a count of 20-15.
Billy Baron poured in 25 points and the Griffs' big halftime lead gave them enough room to fend off Saint Peter's on Saturday. Canisius shot 50 percent from the floor, including 8-of-15 from beyond the arc, in the first 20 minutes to enter the break up 43-22, and despite a furious rally from the Peacocks, was able to hold on.
Baron (21.3 ppg, 4.7 apg) is one of the most prolific scorers in the conference, ranking third in the league in points. The senior guard, who has also made stops at Rhode ISland and Virginia in his collegiate career, is also a solid passer and is on pace to set a career-best in 3-point field goal percentage (.424). Jordan Heath (11.4 ppg, 5.4 rpg) and Chris Perez (11.1 ppg) are the unit's only other double-digit scorers. Relying so heavily on one player has taken a toll on the Golden Griffins' overall offensive performance, as it ranks sixth in the league in scoring (73.8 ppg).
Time and time again Marist found its way to the free-throw line against Fairfield, logging 40 attempts and sinking 32 of them. Conversely, the Stags attempted only 17 foul shots, and that disparity was plenty in what turned out to be a 19-point decision.
Despite the effort at the charity stripe, Marist struggled to find its groove in the win, shooting just 41.3 percent from the floor. That is still an improvement on its season average, as the Red Foxes are hitting just 38.2 percent of their field goal attempts and netting only 62.7 ppg. Each of those marks ranks second-worst in the MAAC. Chavaughn Lewis (16.5 ppg) tops the team in scoring, but his erratic shooting has hampered his ability to perform at an even higher level. Lewis tallied 14 points against Fairfield, but made only 2- of-11 shots from the floor, while converting just 37 percent for the season. Khallid Hart (11.7 ppg) is the club's only other double-digit scorer.
Marist's recent winning streak has the team going in the right direction, as it attempts to salvage the season. However, the Red Foxes are going up against a team that appears poised to contend for the MAAC crown. Expect Baron and company to shoot Canisius past Marist.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Canisius 74, Marist 62
01/06 10:49:47 ET