As many of you may know, I am currently interning at Canisius College as an online media host/producer for their athletics website gogriffs.com.
Being affiliated with their program, I am highly informed on their basketball team as I have done color commentary for them on the radio before in the past.
This year, they’re off to a solid 5-3 start and should provide a difficult challenge for UB tonight.
Canisius is coming off the most complete game of their season, a 93-78 win over Siena where the Griffs offense could do no wrong.
When scouting Canisius, the one name at the top of any report is Billy Baron.
The son of coach Jim Baron, Billy is an elite mid-major point guard whom Siena coach Jimmy Patsos said has the ability to be a backup point guard in the NBA.
Billy is leading the team in points and assists with 19.9 ppg and 4.6 apg.
But don’t get me wrong, Canisius is more than just Billy Baron.
While losing Harold Washington to graduation last year was a huge loss in terms of secondary scoring, a scoring by committee group has emerged in his absence.
Jordan Heath had a career high 28-points against St. Peter’s while Dominique Rainey stepped up with 19 points against Siena.
Chris Perez is Canisius’ main secondary scoring target. Averaging 11.3 ppg, Perez has the ability to drive to the basket.
A graduate transfer from Stetson, Perez averaged 15.1 ppg last year before coming to Canisius.
Inside, the Griffs have height with Jordan Heath (6’10") but they really don’t do well defending scoring bigs.
Canisius was outscored in the paint 60-22 against Siena on Sunday and really struggled late getting stops.
A few additional players to watch on Canisius are Chris Manhertz and Zach Lewis.
Manhertz is a beast on the glass despite being small for a forward. He’s tenacious and will be given the task of guarding Javon McCrea.
Lewis, a freshman has become a three-point threat for the Griffs and has stepped up big in his first college season, averaging 8.3 ppg.
Overall, Canisius is a solid team that should compete to win the MAAC this year.
They have a few disappointing losses but are right around where they should be at this point in the season with all of the player turnaround they’ve had.
They’ll give UB a good game, as it should go down to the wire at the First Niagara Center tonight.