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Slumping Griffs, Bonnies meet for 167th time tonight

Canisius and St. Bonaventure, both mired in losing streaks and identical 1-5 records, will meet for the 167th time in men’s basketball at 7 tonight at the Reilly Center on the Bona campus in Allegany (Radio 1230, 102.9, 95.7).

The visiting Golden Griffins have lost five in a row since an 82-73 win at Bucknell in the season opener on Nov. 12. Canisius is coming off three losses in the AdvoCare Invitational in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. including ranked teams Florida State and defending national champion Villanova. The last time Canisius lost five games in a row was the 2011-12 season.

The Bonnies’ last win was Nov. 10 at home against Jackson State (67-36). A home loss to Niagara followed two nights later. Short-handed because of injuries, Bona then dropped three straight games in the Cayman Islands Classic.

Senior forward Courtney Stockard has not played for the Bonnies yet this season. Another forward, LaDarien Griffin, named as the Most Improved Player in the Atlantic 10 Conference last season, has been out since the opening loss to Bucknell.

Another forward, Melkisedek Moreaux also has not played because of injury.

More recently, freshman starter Dominick Welch (Cheektowaga) missed the last two games of the Cayman tournament with injuries. Like Griffin and Moreaux, he is out indefefinitely. Stockard, recovering from a procedure on his knee, is expected to back action soon, but not necesssarily tonight. Bona had only seven scholarship players at its disposal in the Cayman games.

Transfer Galen Boyser is leading the Bonnies with 17.7 ppg, although he was held to four by Akron in the last game. Poyser was named to the All-Tournament team in the Cayman tournament. Freshman guard Kyle Lofton is averaging 14.5

Sophomore Takal Molson leads Canisius in scoring at 18.4 ppg. Guard Isaiah Reese is next at 13.8. Reese, on Tuesday, was one of 50 mid-major players named to the 2018-19 Lou Henson Award Watch List announced by CollegeInsider.com. He is one of only 13 juniors to be recognized.

The Canisius-St. Bonaventure rivalry began in the 1919-20 season. Bona leads the series, 100-66. The dominance is more pronounced at the Reilly Center where Bona has a 32-6 record against the Griffs. Canisius lost the first 25 times it played there, before breaking through, 76-74, in the 1994-95 season.

With the frontcourt casualties, Bona coach Mark Schmidt has started 6-7 sophomore Tshiefu Ngalakulondi with 6-10 junior Amadi Ikpeze (Amherst). The fifth starter probably will be freshman guard Alpha Okoli.

Besides Molson and Reese, junior point guard Malik Johnson, and sophomores Scott Hitchon and Jalanni White have been starters in every game for coach Reggie Witherspoon. Reese scored his career high, 31 points, in last year’s loss to Bona at the Koessler Center. Reese is averaging 26.5 ppg in his career against the Bonnies. Johnson will be making his 74th straight start for Canisius.

 

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