Bucknell vs Canisius Preview and Prediction
Bucknell vs Canisius Preview
Date: Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Lewisburg, Pa. | Sojka Pavilion
Online Video: Patriot League Network
Bucknell Probable Starters
G: Jimmy Sotos (10.0 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 5.5 apg)
G: Kimbal Mackenzie (21.5 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 4.0 apg)
G: Avi Toomer (9.5 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 1.5 apg)
F: Bruce Moore (6.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 0.5 bpg)
C: Paul Newman (11.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 2.5 bpg)
Senior forward Nate Sestina is Bucknell’s best big man, but he will likely miss this game due to injury. This is a huge loss for the Bison as Sestina is a double-double machine and would’ve created matchups problems for the Golden Griffins.
Paul Newman will start in place of Sestina for a second consecutive game. In his first career start, the sophomore center scored 12 points, grabbed seven rebounds and blocked four shots.
The Bison are coming off a loss to another MAAC opponent Fairfield, 60-58. The Bison (1-1) trailed by as many as 15 points in the first half and by 10 at intermission after the Stags (1-1) outshot Bucknell 61 percent to 32 percent in the opening 20 minutes. The Bison locked down defensively in the second half, holding Fairfield to 6-for-26 shooting (.231), but it wasn’t enough.
Twice already this season Bucknell has fought back from double-figure deficits. The Bison came from 13 points down to win in overtime at St. Bonaventure on opening night, but after digging out of a 15-point hole against Fairfield on Saturday, they just could not get over the hump.
If Bucknell starts slowly for a third consecutive game, Canisius has the talent to put the Bison away early.
Canisius and Colorado are the final two Div.I college basketball teams to tip-off their season–they both play tonight.
Canisius Probable Starters
G: Malik Johnson (7.8 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 4.6 apg)
G: Takal Molson (12.6 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 2.6 apg)
G: Isaiah Reese (16.9 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 4.7 apg)
F: Jalanni White (2.2 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 0.5 bpg)
F: Scott Hitchon (1.6 ppg, 1.1 rpg, 0.4 bpg)
Canisius went 21-12 overall in 2017-18, with a 15-3 mark in MAAC play. The 15 league wins set a new school record, and also helped the Blue and Gold earn a share of the MAAC regular-season championship, the school’s first since 1993-94.
The Griffs overachieved last year, and this year will be the true test for the team. Will they be able to return to the top of the MAAC? Will Isaiah Reese and Takal Molson take another step forward in their careers? Who will replace Jermaine Crumpton? These questions will begin to be answered tonight against the Bison.
The biggest question mark I have for the Griffs is their front-court. Who will start? Who will receive a minutes? And who will step up?
Replacing a player like Jermaine Crumpton, who has signed to play overseas is not easy–but with arguably the most talented back-court in the MAAC, the big men will need to step up nightly.
Tonight will mark the seventh all-time meeting in this series, which dates back to the 1916-17 season. The Griffs are 6-0 never losing to Bucknell in their program’s history.
The Golden Griffins are 77-35 all-time in season openers (no records for 1913-14 and 1918-19 seasons). Canisius is 2-3 in its last five season-openers, dating back to the 2013-14 campaign.
Bucknell being without Nate Sestina is a big blow to their chances of coming away with the victory–sophomore Paul Newman has similar size to Sestina and played well in his absence last game, but he is not the same player down-low as the Bucknell All-Patriot League selection.
The Griffs will receive most of their scoring from their three-guard lineup, but they will need one of their front-court players to take charge on the boards and score when needed. The trio of Reese, Molson and Johnson can not do it all.
Keep an eye on Reggie Witherspoon’s rotation–his first two years at Canisius he used the first couple of games to work out kinks and had an expanded bench.
Canisius 81 Bucknell 73