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Quinnipiac vs. Canisius preview

Photo Courtesy Quinnipiac Athletics

By: Ryan Chichester

The Quinnipiac men’s basketball team is on its first winning streak of the season, and picked the perfect time to start it. Two straight wins to start conference play have given the Bobcats a reason for optimism with Canisius coming to town on Friday night.

Here is what to watch for when the Bobcats take the court in search of their third-straight win:

Who will blink first?

The Bobcats may boast a 2-0 conference record, but the Golden Griffins are flying even higher with a 2-0 MAAC record of their own, including a win over reigning conference champion and preseason favorite Iona on New Year’s Eve. The Griffs have now won four straight dating back to non-conference play, and sport a similar DNA as the Bobcats.

Canisius and Quinnipiac were picked to finish ninth and eleventh respectively in the MAAC Preseason Poll, but both have a pair of wins to start their conference schedules. The Griffs have their cherished win over Iona, while the Bobcats downed Monmouth, picked third, in their conference opener. Both have confidence and momentum, but only one will finish the evening with their winning streak intact.

Shoot your shot

This game could come down to the simplest form of basketball: make shots. The Golden Griffs rely on their ability to put the ball in the hole, shooting a conference-best 47.6 percent from the field this season. The Canisius offense is led by senior Jermaine Crumpton and sophomore Isaiah Reese, who rank sixth and seventh in the MAAC in scoring. The duo combined for 42 points in the Griffs’ win over Iona, and the Bobcat defense will have to have eyes on the two Griffs at all times.

The Griffs are going to make their shots, so the Bobcats have to have a response. Perhaps they can look to Jacob Rigoni, who has shown what he can do when he catches fire from the perimeter. The freshman leads the MAAC with a 54.8 percent clip from downtown on 43 attempts, so it is hardly a small sample size. Meanwhile, the return of Chaise Daniels gives Baker Dunleavy another option in the paint, but Daniels should limit his shots against double teams and find the open man outside, something he struggled with before his brief hiatus from the team.

He’s back

Daniels played 17 minutes in the win over Siena on New Year’s Day, so he should carry a little less rust into the matchup with Canisius. Daniels will be vital for the Bobcats on Friday night against a Griffs team that tops the MAAC in defensive rebounding. Canisius rarely allows second chances, so Daniels will have to be active beneath the rim for his Bobcats, who are known to go cold from the floor at times. If the Bobcats are misfiring, Daniels will need to be crashing the glass and giving his offense another shot if the Bobcats are to remain undefeated in conference play.

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