Canisius vs St. Bonaventure Basketball Preview and Prediction
Canisius vs St. Bonaventure Basketball Preview
After a disappointing last-place finish in the AdvoCare Invitational, Canisius (1-5) will look to rebound (literally and figuratively) against fellow Big 4 rival, St. Bonaventure (1-5).
Those that did not follow Canisius at the well-known early season tournament do not understand how bad the Griffs have been on the boards.
In their five losses, here is how the Griffs have been handled on the boards:
In their lone victory over Bucknell, it was the only game this season Canisius has won the battle on the glass, they out-rebounded the Bison in that contest, 36-28 (+8).
This will be the key indicator of the Griffs chances of success against the Bonnies.
The other key for the Griffs success is getting Isaiah Reese back on track. The junior guard has not looked like the MAAC-Player of the Year like the preseason pollers voted.
In six games to start the season, Reese is averaging 12.5 points on 34 percent shooting from the floor and 30 percent from three. He is nearly averaging three turnovers a game and has not looked like the do-it-all player we saw for the Griffs last year.
He is still rebounding at a great clip–5.7 per game this year, but the overall Isaiah Reese game has suffered.
If there is a game where we may predict a turnaround, it’s against these Bonnies. Reese scored a career-high 31 in the loss to St. Bonaventure last year, enters tonight’s game in Olean averaging 26.5 points per game in two previous meetings with SBU.
St. Bonaventure did not come into the 2018-19 campaign with the same amount of expectations as the Griffs. The Bonnies expectations graduated last season with the losses of their two leading scorers, Jaylen Adams and Matt Mobley who are now playing professionally (Adams currently with the Atlanta Hawks).
In addition to the turnover they dealt with, injuries have been a major problem for the Bonnies, as the team had the services of just seven scholarship players for the final two games of the Cayman Islands Classic last week.
That includes their best player and integral part of their NCAA Tournament team a season ago, Courtney Stockard. The senior forward, who underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee over the summer, has yet to play for the team this season.
Junior guard Jalen Poyser was named to the Cayman Islands Classic All-Tournament team after averaging 16.3 points per game in the event. Poyser went 9-19 from three-point range over the three games. He leads the Bonnies in scoring this season at 17.7 points per game.
Freshman point guard Kyle Lofton also was a bright spot in the Cayman Islands, averaging 15.3 points per game while playing 112 of a possible 120 minutes over three games.
- This game tonight will mark the 167th all-time meeting between these two programs in a series that started Jan. 23, 1920.
- St. Bonaventure leads this series 100-66. Including last year’s win in Buffalo, the Bonnies have won seven of the last 10 games between the rival schools.
- This game tonight will mark the 39th time these two programs have played in the Reilly Center. The Bonnies have won 32 of the previous 38 contests on their home court.
- The Griffs’ 106-101 overtime win over St. Bonaventure Dec. 22, 2016 snapped the Bonnies’ five-game home win streak in the series. That game, the highest scoring game in series history, was just the ninth overtime contest all-time between the two long-time rivals.
With the injuries the Bonnies are dealing with the Griffs have an opportunity to take this game over their WNY-rival–but the Canisius team I have watched this season looks disconnected and lacks focus. The talent is there, but the will to win isn’t.
Being courtside for the AdvoCare Invitational, the Canisius team lacks leadership and only one player (senior Malik Johnson) consistently talked on the court. After their final loss to UAB, the team was scattered throughout the arena watching the championship game between Villanova and Florida State silently and not together.
Sure, you can say they were dealing with their fifth consecutive loss or third in four days–but I saw players not caring about one another. Reese, hanging with a group of guys that were not Canisius players or schoolmates, while others were sitting alone in different rows of the arena. I want to see leaders of this Griffs team form and help bond this unit on and off the court. When and if that happens, I believe that is when you will see the talent on the team unite and be a force to be reckoned with in the MAAC.
Maybe it’s the players? Maybe it’s coaching? I don’t have the answer, but knowing how good this Griffs team can be, I hope we start to see a different team form on the court.
How will it go down…
I like sophomore’s Takal Molson and Scott Hitchon to produce in double-figures with the latter pulling in double-digit rebounds for his first career double-double as the Griffs finally battle on the boards consistently for 40 minutes.
Isaiah Reese has a wake-up call and shoots 50 percent from the field.
The Bonnies lack of depth catches up with them in the final ten minutes as their front-line players deal with foul trouble.
Canisius senior Malik Johnson sinks clutch free throws in the final minutes to seal the victory and end the Griffs five-game slide.
LINE: -4.5 SBU
Canisius 74 St. Bonaventure 71