The Canisius Golden Griffins ( ) host MAAC foe Siena ( ) in an afternoon tilt at the Koessler Athletic Center. The Griffs are coming in hot, winning their last five games and seven of their last eight. This will mark the third league game for each team, each holding a 1-1 record.

Pre-Game Notes

  • This game marks the 97th all-time meeting between the two schools. Siena holds a 53-43 edge.

  • Siena swept the two game series last year by an average 22 points.

  • Canisius senior Phil Valenti scored a season-high 27 points in their last outing, a 106-101 OT victory over cross-town rival St. Bonaventure

  • In that game, Valenti became the 32nd member of the Griffs to ever score 1,000 points. He was honored before today’s game.

  • Siena has lost two straight contests, both by double-digits to Hofstra and Vermont.

(The Griffin)

1st Half Analysis

Siena started the game strong, playing physical on the glass and forcing their way inside early. The Saints rushed out to a 9-4 lead, but Canisius guard Kassius Roberston kept the Griffs in it. Robertson scored the first 14 points for Canisius, making his first six shots as the Saints held a slim 18-16 lead with 12 minutes to play in the first half.

Canisius took their first lead shortly thereafter at 19-18, as freshman Spencer Foley drained a three from NBA distance. The game stayed close throughout the first half and the offense began to pour in. With three minutes to play, Canisius led Siena 39-33 while shooting 60% from the field (15 of 25) and 44% from deep (4 of 9).

The final three minutes of the first half saw Canisius hold an 11-point lead, but Siena clawed back to within seven as the score at the break was 46-39.

1st Half Notes

  •  The Saints dominated inside, holding the edge in points in the paint 28-18.
  •  Kassius Robertson led all scorers with 17 first half points.
  •  Canisius shot 59% at the end of the first half compared to Siena’s 46%.
  •  The rebound edge belonged to Siena 17-16.

2nd Half Analysis

Unlike the first half, the second half started slowly for both squads, especially Canisius. Their seven point halftime lead was quickly erased to four 46-42 with 17:30 left to play.

The game would volley back-and-forth with Canisius maintaining the lead and expanding it to as high as nine in the first six minutes. Siena’s depth became a factor as they had two players in foul trouble early, Javion Ogunyemi and Lavon Long both picked up their fourth fouls with more than 15 minutes to play in the game.

After that point, it seemed like the wheel were beginning to fall off on Siena. They were battling to keep it a single-digit deficit, but Canisius’ hot shooting continued, as they were still above 55% from the floor with 10 minutes to play and an 11-point, 65-54 lead.

Canisius had hit eight three’s to Siena’s one.

Siena wouldn’t quit, still pounding the ball inside, their paint presence was real. Javion Ogunyemi despite his four fouls continued to play and doing so with force down-low. He collected 18 points with 7:12 remaining and was one of the sole reasons the Saints still had a shot at this game.

Spencer Foley was the X-factor for the Griffs, he is 5 of 6 from three, good for 15 points at the 7:12 mark in the second half. The Griffs hold a ten point lead 72-62.

The Saints went on a run after Foley’s fifth three-pointer, with 4:30 to play they climbed within three 74-71, doing it the same way, in the paint. With those four and a half minutes remaining Siena held a 52-30 edge inside.

Ultimately, the foul trouble caught up to Siena. With three minutes to play, both Lavon Long and Brett Bisping had fouled out and the Griffs were seemingly at the line every possession, which helped them maintain their lead, 81-74.

Siens’a second three pointer of the game came with 36.9 seconds left and brought the Saints to within three 82-79.

Freshman guard Malik Johnson missed both free attempts to the Saints a chance to tie on the final possession, but a missed shot an offensive rebound and another missed shot later the Griffs survived 82-79.

Full Game Notes

  • Monday’s game marked the 22nd time in series history where the final score was decided by five-points or less. Siena leads that portion of the series 12-10.
  • After starting 0-2 at home, Canisius has now won three-straight at home.
  • Since posting a season-low 58 points in the loss to Tennessee State Nov. 23, Canisius is averaging 88 points per game.
  • Canisius was credited with 19 assists on 30-made field goals on Monday. Five players had multiple assists in the win, led by Valenti’s team-high five.
  • Canisius led the game for 31:12. The game featured four lead changes and one tie.
  • Siena outscored Canisius 52-32 in the paint, and the Saints held a 41-32 advantage on the glass.
  • Canisius has shot better than 45 percent from the field in six of the team’s last seven games after shooting 49.2 percent in the win Monday.
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Dan Schalk

Dan Schalk is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief for MFST and can be heard weekly on the 'My Fantasy Podcast'. He is likely watching Seinfeld right now, not that there's anything wrong with that.
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Latest posts by Dan Schalk (see all) SchalkMAACNCAABRecent Postscanisius,Canisius Golden Griffins,MAAC,Siena SaintsThe Canisius Golden Griffins ( ) host MAAC foe Siena ( ) in an afternoon tilt at the Koessler Athletic Center. The Griffs are coming in hot, winning their last five games and seven of their last eight. This will mark the third league game for each team, each...