It’s crowded at the top of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference’s men’s basketball standings. There could be more clarity by Sunday night.
Canisius has a important set of games coming up, beginning tonight at the Koessler Center. The Golden Griffins (16-7, 10-2) host Manhattan (7 p.m., ESPNU, Radio 1400 AM). On Sunday at home, Canisius goes up against the other co-holder of first place in the MAAC, Iona (13-8, 10-2).
Niagara (6-17, 3-9) plays those same teams in reverse order – Iona tonight (7 p.m., Radio 1520 AM) and Manhattan on Sunday - at the Gallagher Center.
Tonight’s game at Canisius will mark the first time that a Golden Griffins’ contest has been shown live on national television since the 2010-11 season.
Canisius comes into the game playing its best basketball of the season. The Griffs have won four in a row, their longest such streak since the 2006-07 campaign. Canisius defeated Fairfield, 84-58, on Feb. 1 in its last game. That’s the most one-sided road win in the MAAC in the Golden Griffins’ history. Another conference win would give Canisius 11 MAAC victories this season, matching last year’s total.
Manhattan (15-6, 8-4) is tied for third in the MAAC. Senior George Beamon leads the Jaspers by averaging 18.5 points per game. Manhattan has eight road wins this season.
Meanwhile, Niagara is back home after dropping two road games last weekend. The Purple Eagles lost to the Gaels last month.
As usual, Antoine Mason is the big attraction for Niagara. He now is in seventh place in the university’s all-time scoring list. He needs 12 points to move up to sixth. Mason still leads the nation in scoring with a 26.6 points per game average. He’s also first nationally in free throws made, free throw attempts, field goals made, and field goal attempts.
Iona has won five straight games, and leads the conference in scoring at 83.5 points per game.
In women’s basketball, Canisius and Niagara play for the second time in 10 days when they meet in the Koessler Center at 4 p.m. Niagara (7-14, 5-7) won the first meeting over Canisius, 69-60.
The Golden Griffins have lost three of their last four, while the Purple Eagles have captured three of their last five games.
In a game played on Thursday afternoon, the University at Buffalo women celebrated Kids Day with a 55-43 win over Ohio. The 43 points allowed was a season’s best for the Bulls. MacKenzie Loesing had 18 points for the Bulls (13-8, 6-4), while Alexus Malone had a career-high 16 rebounds. Ohio was 3 for 19 in three point shots, as UB took control in the final minutes of the contest.