Iona at Canisius
7 p.m. at Koessler Athletic Center
Records: Iona 17-9, 10-5. Canisius 15-11, 8-7.
The Set-Up: Iona leads the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference in scoring offense, field-goal percentage and three-point shooting. The Gaels are 12th in the nation in three-point percentage (39.9 overall) and 16th in the nation in threes per game (9.9 overall, 10.0 in the MAAC). Canisius is 33rd in the nation in three-pointers per game (9.2 overall) and 40th in the nation in threes attempted per game (24.2). Iona beat Canisius, 98-75, on Jan. 8.
Quotable: Canisius’ Kassius Robertson on the Gaels’ offense: “Transition is killer. We tasted a little bit of that last game. We’re gonna be way more prepared for it this game. We weren’t ready for that speed. We tried our best but we weren’t prepared for it.”
MAAC Standing: 1. Monmouth 14-2. 2. Iona 10-5. 3. St. Peter’s 10-6. 4. Siena 9-7. 5. Canisius 8-7. 6. Fairfield 7-7. 7. Rider 7-8. 8. Quinnipiac 7-9. 9. Niagara 6-10. 10. Manhattan 4-12. 11. Marist 3-12.
MAAC Race: The top five get a first-round bye. St. Peter’s is likely to get to at least 12 wins, so it will be hard for Canisius to climb to third. Siena likely is locked into fourth or fifth. Is it better for the Griffs to finish fifth or sixth? Fifth brings a bye, but a meeting with Siena on its home court in the quarterfinals. Canisius beat Siena twice this year. But Siena has four senior 1,000-point scorers. Are those four going to underperform and bow out in their last appearance at home in front of 7,000 fans? Would it be better for the Griffs to finish sixth, play the 11th-place team in a pre-quarterfinal and then get the third-seed in the quarterfinal? Canisius has won at No. 3 St. Peter’s as well. These are things for Griff die-hards to worry about.
Top Gaels: The toughest matchup is Iona center Jordan Washington, a 6-8, 235-pounder. He’s sixth in the MAAC in scoring (17.0) and rebounding (7.0) and third in the nation in fouls drawn per 40 minutes (8.4). Iona’s Jon Severe leads the MAAC in three-point shooting percentage. E.J. Crawford is second. Schadrac Casmir is ninth. Sam Cassell Jr. is fourth in threes per game (2.5).
WNY Connection. E.J. Crawford is a 6-6 freshman from Hartford. His father is Eric Crawford, who starred at Buffalo’s McKinley High with Griff great Ray Hall. Crawford went on to St. Bonaventure, then transferred to Hartford, where he starred in 1984 and 1985.
NBA Connection: Cassell Jr. is the son of the former NBA star who played 15 seasons with eight teams and currently is an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Clippers. Cassell Jr. is a graduate student who transferred to Iona from UConn, where he saw limited duty the past two years.