After a disappointing finish to Canisius’ men’s basketball non-conference schedule, the Griffins rebounded with two wins to open up Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference play. Canisius (5-9, 2-0 MAAC) defeated Marist and Siena on the road and opens the first game of a three-game homestand Friday night at 7 p.m. against Rider (7-7, 2-0 MAAC).
The Griffins are 2-0 to open MAAC play for the second straight season and seventh time in school history. Dating back to last season Canisius is 17-3 in conference play, tying a program record.
Against Rider, the Griffins will lean on the trio of Takal Molson, Isaiah Reese and Malik Johnson. Molson currently ranks fourth in the MAAC in scoring with 17.1 points per game.
Reese has found his shooting stroke recently, averaging 14.6 ppg in the last five games, increasing his season average to 12.0.
Johnson led the team with 19 points in Canisius’ most recent game against Brown, his two assists gave him 340 for his career, tied for 11th all time.
Rider is led by Jordan Allen and Dimencio Vaughn each averaging 12.7 ppg. The Broncos narrowly won each of its first two MAAC games.
Niagara finished December with a 5-2 record but quickly sputtered once the new year began.
The Purple Eagles (7-8, 0-2 MAAC) were the only team in the MAAC to finish non-conference play with a winning record with wins against Pittsburgh, Army and Cornell. Niagara will have another tough test Friday when they take on three-time defending MAAC champion Iona.
Iona (4-9, 2-0 MAAC) and Niagara will play at 7 p.m. at the Gallagher Center.
Marvin Prochet has been one of the best players in the MAAC this year, averaging a career-high in points at 17.2. He also ranks second in the conference with 8.5 rebounds per game.
Iona has four players scoring in double figures while leading the MAAC in scoring at 79.0 ppg. That scoring has not translated into wins as Iona dropped seven straight games before entering conference play and remains winless on the road.
Niagara won the most recent matchup, 85-84, last season, erasing a 12-point second half deficit.
Canisius, NU hit the ice
Defeating the No. 13 team in the country twice last week, Canisius hockey will play a home and home series with Atlantic Hockey Association opponent Mercyhurst.
Canisius will host the Lakers at the HarborCenter on Friday at 7:35 p.m. in the teams’ first matchup this season.
Dylan McLaughlin leads the Griffins in all offensive categories with 11 goals, 12 assists and 23 points.
Niagara will search for its first win against an AHA team since Nov. 23 when they play Holy Cross this weekend.
The two teams met earlier this season with Niagara winning 6-3 in the first matchup and tying 3-3 in the second.
Both games will be played away in Worcester, Mass. starting at 7 p.m.
Defensman Noah Delmas has tallied 16 points in his last 13 games. Delmas has 5 points in two games against Holy Cross this season.