Canisius vs Siena Preview and Prediction
Canisius vs Siena Preview
The Canisius Golden Griffins (4-8, 1-0) opened up conference play with a gritty 75-72 victory over Marist on Thursday–thanks in part to their seniors. Jibreel Faulkner scored a career-high 18 points off the bench, Marcale Lotts added a season-high six rebounds (five offensive) and Jonathan Sanks scored 10 points for the second consecutive game as the Griffs won their MAAC opener for seventh straight season.
The group of seniors may not be the first players mentioned when talking about Griffs basketball, but they are the unsung heroes and deserve recognition for the game they played against the Red Foxes.
For the Siena Saints (5-9, 0-1) the future of the program is one of the brightest in the MAAC, but this season the team will deal with some growing pains. We saw that on Thursday when it took the Saints more than a half to find their rhythm. They allowed Saint Peter’s to open a 19-point advantage before turning it on, bringing that deficit to five points–but there was not enough time to complete the comeback as they fell, 65-60.
Siena brought in one of the best recruiting classes in the MAAC this offseason when they signed Jalen Pickett, Sloan Seymour and to a lesser extent Georges Darwiche. Pickett is already one of the best players in the MAAC and has won multiple Rookie of the Week awards this season.
Seymour doesn’t get the same type of publicity, but his future is bright with the program.
The one that got away
Jalen Pickett is a hot topic when it comes to college basketball in Western New York. Pickett played high school an hour away from the Canisius campus at the Aquinas Institute in Rochester, NY but never really considered the school–or if you ask other people, Canisius head coach Reggie Witherspoon did not try to heavily recruit Pickett to the Griffs.
The way his college career has started, he could haunt the Griffs and fellow MAAC team Niagara for the next four years.
The freshman is averaging 15.1 points, 7.1 assists, 4.1 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game. Those are impressive numbers–but for a guy getting his first taste of college basketball action, it is even more impressive.
The Canisius trio
The Griffs are led by their talented backcourt of juniors Malik Johnson, Isaiah Reese and sophomore Takal Molson. Those three are having down seasons for their standards but are still pacing Canisius.
They have accounted for 53 percent of the teams scoring, 44 percent of the teams rebounding, 68 percent of the teams assists and 63 percent of the teams steals. Basically, they do it all for the club.
Before the season started Reese and Molson had NBA aspirations but their sluggish starts have scouts scratching their heads. The hope is that their play will come back to normal as conference play starts–but that is yet to be seen.
Siena holds a 54-46 advantage in the series. The teams split last seasons series with one win a piece–each team picked up a victory at their home arena.
Dan’s Bet: The line has not been released yet for this game, but I was surprised to see Canisius a four point underdog against Marist. I’m assuming this will be close to a pick’em game–and Siena’s dud against Saint Peter’s isn’t helping my confidence in the club, but the team plays differently at home. Just like last year, a bad Siena team beat a solid Canisius team in Albany–I expect the same result this year.
Score Prediction: Siena 74 Canisius 73