Albany vs Canisius Basketball Preview and Prediction
Albany vs Canisius Preview
The Canisius Golden Griffins (1-0) open their 2018-19 home season at the Koessler Center in Buffalo, NY on Saturday afternoon when they host the Albany Great Danes (0-2) of the America East Conference.
The Griffs are coming off of an impressive 82-73 road victory at Bucknell on Tuesday night.
Molson led the way tying a career-high 25 points, also pulling down seven boards with three assists and three steals. The former local high school standout considered turning pro after his freshman season along with teammate Isaiah Reese, but the duo returned to school to ultimately improve their draft stock.
We knew the backcourt was going to be Canisius’ strength, but as we previewed the Bucknell game, the frontcourt was the biggest question mark for the Griffs–and they responded.
Sophomore forward Scott Hitchon making his second career start looked poised while looking to make an impact on the game. He did just that tying his career high with eight points on a perfect 3-for-3 shooting from the field. He chipped in four rebounds with two assists, one block and one steal.
Reggie Witherspoon on beating Bucknell:
“We knew coming in that Bucknell is the type of team that is not going to quit, and they showed that in the second half. We came out and shot it really well in the first half, but we got a little stagnant on offense in the second half. I was trying to work with some different line-ups and combinations to find that offensive flow, and we weren’t able to get that rolling, which helped them. We’ve talked all preseason about being mentally locked-in for 40 minutes, and I thought our guys showed some toughness there down the stretch when they got close. It’s obviously nice to win the first game of the year, and to do it against a good team like this on the road makes it even better.”
For Albany, it’s been a rough start to what is expected to be a successful 2018-19 campaign. The Great Danes were picked to finish fourth in the America East, but the team always has postseason aspirations, appearing in the NCAA Tournament five times since 2006 and eight total postseason tournaments in 12 years.
The Great Danes have lost their first two games by a combined 14 points, but both of their losses were less competitive that it seems.
Albany lost their season opener to another MAAC opponent Iona 72-68. After leading by as many as 15 points in the first half, the Danes couldn’t match their early pace as Iona started cutting into the lead before taking over for good in the second half.
Iona ended the game outscoring UAlbany 32-16 in the paint, 33-10 off turnovers, and 24-8 off the bench.
In their home opener, the Danes fell to Boston University 71-61, trailing by 20+ points throughout before a late rally.
Albany is featuring nine new faces and only three of six returning players have actual game experience, so while the expectations were high–it could be until conference play until this team figures it out.
Healy is a redshirt freshman guard from Australia who leads the team in scoring with 17 points per night. He’s deadly from long-range, connecting on 53 percent of his attempts from deep.
Clark, is a junior point guard who averaged ten minutes per game last season–so far in 2018 he’s averaging 31 minutes a night and has increased his scoring from three points a season ago to 14 this year.
Canisius will be favored in this contest, but at the time of this writing the line has not been posted.
I liked what I saw from the Griffs in their season opener–they have the talent (specifically in their backcourt) to compete with most teams on a nightly basis. Anytime a starting lineup can feature at least two players who can play at the next level, it gives them a serious advantage–specifically in mid-major vs mid-major matchups.
If the Griffs frontcourt can pitch in when needed like they did against the Bison, Canisius should be 2-0 entering the highly anticipated Advocare Invitational.
Canisius 79 Albany 66