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Manhattan (15-6) at Canisius (16-7)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Friday, February 7, 7 p.m. (ET)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Koessler Athletic Center (2,176) -- Jersey City, New Jersey. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: Manhattan 6-3, Canisius 8-0. Away Record: Manhattan 8-3, Canisius 6-5. Neutral Record: Manhattan 1-0, Canisius 2-1. Conference Record: Manhattan 8-4, Canisius 3-9. Series Record: Manhattan leads, 48-32.

GAME NOTES: In a critical Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference showdown, the Manhattan Jaspers clash with the Canisius Golden Griffins at the Koessler Athletic Center.

Manhattan ended a two-game slide on Tuesday by posting a 64-49 win over Saint Peter's. The Jaspers, who are beginning a stretch of five road tests in their next six games, are now 15-6 overall, while sitting in a three-way tie for third place in the conference standings (8-4). They will visit Niagara next.

Canisius has been red hot recently, with wins in four straight and seven of its last eight, the only loss coming in an 85-83 decision at Iona. The Golden Griffins are a league best 16-7, while also tied for first place in the league with Iona (10-2), which is their next opponent.

These teams split the season series a year ago, although Manhattan has won three of the last four meetings and leads the all-time series, 48-32.

Shane Richards drilled 4-of-5 shots from 3-point range and finished with a team-high 13 points, all as a reserve, to lift Manhattan over Saint Peter's. The Jaspers limited the Peacocks to a miserable 36 percent shooting, while outscoring them from beyond the arc, 27-3.

Manhattan can certainly hold its own on offense, ranking fourth in the MAAC in scoring (77.2 ppg), despite connecting on just 42.9 percent of its shots from the field. Leading the charge most nights is swingman George Beamon (18.5 ppg, 7.1 rpg). Beamon scored 10 points against Saint Peter's, but he only knocked down 3-of-11 shots from the field. Michael Alvarado (13.6 ppg, 4.2 apg) works well as the second scoring option, and he is the team's top passer. In fact, Alvarado is third in the MAAC in assists. Rhamel Brown (9.4 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 3.6 bpg) is a decent scorer, but he is more vital on defense as he leads the conference in blocks.

Canisius did not get much resistance when it faced Fairfield last Saturday, running away with an 84-58 victory. The Golden Griffs only shot 43.5 percent from the field, but they outscored the Stags by sizable margins at the free- throw line (25-5) and off turnovers (21-10).

The Golden Griffins are scoring at a similar pace to the Jaspers, ranking just ahead of them in scoring (77.3 ppg) among conference teams. However, Canisius is a more efficient shooting team, netting 46 percent of their field goal tries. Billy Baron (23.7 ppg, 4.7 apg) is an explosive scorer, that can hit shots from anywhere on the floor, but he is also a skilled passer. He is second in the MAAC in both scoring and assists, and had a team-high 17 points and three helpers against Fairfield. Chris Perez (11.4 ppg) and Jordan Heath (10.5 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 2.3 bpg) are the next best scoring options.

Both of these teams have legitimate conference title aspirations. Canisius has the edge this time around, so long as it can remain focused and not look ahead to its big test against Iona on Sunday.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Canisius 78, Manhattan 71

02/07 10:15:51 ET

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