PREGAME PREP: No. 7 Canisius vs. No. 2 St. Peter’s
MAAC Quarterfinal in Albany
9:30 p.m. Times Union Arena
Records: Canisius 18-14. St. Peter’s 18-12.
Regular season: Canisius won 72-70 on Feb. 6. St. Peter’s won 72-65 on Feb. 26.
The Set-Up: Canisius is the underdog, but it’s not an awful matchup for the Griffs. They split with the Peacocks during the season. St. Peter’s won at the Koessler Center just five days ago. Canisius did not play well, but it nevertheless was a one-possession game with a minute to play. Maybe Thursday’s win over Marist frees up the Griffs to play loose and bring their A game to the quarterfinal. St. Peter’s has won six straight and it’s not surprise it was the No. 2 seed. It returned four starters from last year’s team, which finished fourth in the MAAC.
The Matchup: St. Peter’s is the far superior defensive team. Can Canisius squeeze enough out of its good offense to win? St. Peter’s is 56th in the nation in defending the three. The Peacocks have tall, long-armed players on the wing, and they limited Griff star Kassius Robertson to just eight points and five shots six days ago. The Griffs hit just 9 of 27 treys in that game. Bad news for Griffs. But: St. Peter’s plays the third slowest tempo in the nation (348 out of 351!). That means St. Peter’s tends to play close games. Canisius should have a chance down the stretch.
Griff D: St. Peter’s has a good inside-out presence with 6-8, 250-pound senior Quadir Welton (11.8 ppg/8.0 rebs). The Peacocks are good three-point shooters, too. Canisius might need to get 10 good minutes off the bench from a backup post player (Dantai St. Louis).