The Jim Baron era officially tips off tonight at the corner of Main Street and East Delavan when the Canisius Golden Griffins open their 109th season of men’s basketball against Boston University at the Koessler Center (7 p.m., Radio 1400 AM).
The game is the first regular-season contest for the Griffs under Baron, the former St. Bonaventure player and coach who succeeded Tom Parrotta as head coach last spring.
While the Griffs are coming off a 25-loss season, there’s reason to believe they will be improved as the cupboard wasn’t totally empty. Last year’s leading scorer, Harold Washington (17 ppg.), is back along with second-leading scorer Alshwan Hymes (15.4).
Billy Baron, the coach’s son who transferred to Canisius from Rhode Island, averaged 13.0 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.6 assists last year. He was granted a waiver by the NCAA to play immediately instead of sitting out a season as a transfer.
The Terriers of Boston U., who used to regularly play the Griffs when both were members of the North Atlantic Conference during the 1980s, opened the season with a 65-64 loss at Northeastern on Friday. D.J. Irving scored 18 points in the loss for Boston U. He ranked second in scoring on the Terriers last year (11.4 ppg.) during their 16-16 season.
Boston U. leads the all-time series with Canisius, 14-8.
In other Big 4 men’s action, the University at Buffalo hits the road as it tries to rebound from Saturday’s season-opening loss to Princeton.
It won’t be easy as the Bulls will face defending Atlantic Coast Conference champ Florida State as part of the NABC Coaches vs. Cancer Tournament (7 p.m., Radio 1230 AM).
The Seminoles beat St. Bonaventure by three during the second round of March’s NCAA Tournament.
In women’s action, St. Bonaventure travels to Lewiston to face Niagara at 7 p.m. in the Gallagher Center.
The Bonnies opened the season at home Saturday afternoon by routing Binghamton, 61-34, as Ashley Zahn led the offense with a career-high 14 points, while 6-foot-1 freshman forward Katie Healy of Lancaster had 12 off the bench.
Niagara opened with a hard-fought win on the road, 63-59, over Robert Morris on Friday night.
Senior Jess Flamm led NU with 14 points, while Meghan McGuinness, Kelly Van Leeuwen and Lauren Gatto all grabbed a team-high seven rebounds.
The Purple Eagles are 22-33 all-time versus Bona.