For MAAC basketball teams, one of the toughest trips during the season is always the "Buffalo Swing." What the Swing entails is a 4 day trip to Western New York to take local MAAC Rivals Canisius College and Niagara University. This weekend Canisius and Niagara welcomed 2 two of the top 3 teams in the MAAC with Iona and Manhattan. These two New York City schools are located only 9 miles from each other, closer than Canisius is to Niagara.
The Griffs came into the weekend only a half game ahead of Iona in 1st place in the conference. Friday night, Canisius took on Manhattan in the first meeting of the season between the two schools. Manhattan controlled the game from the start, all over the Griffs jumping out to a 15-1 spurt.Canisius fell short 84-73. Manhattan forward George Beamon lead the Jaspers with 27 points. Maryland transfer Ashton Pankey added 16 points and 11 rebounds. Canisius senior guard Billy Baron, one of the nations top scorers finished the game 22 points, 7 rebounds,and 7 assist. What would hurt the Griffs during the Manhattan game was the loss of starting forward Chris Manhertz suffered a broken nose. Manhertz tried to play with a mask but did not see much time.
With the loss to Manhattan Friday, Canisius was hoping for a quick turnaround Sunday vs. Iona. Iona sneaked away with late rally to escape Niagara with a 1 point win late Friday. With a win over Niagara and a Canisius loss to Manhattan, Iona came into Sunday with a 1 game lead over Manhattan and the Griffs. Iona who is 5th in the country in points per game would look to rush the ball against Canisius. Iona's game play early was to make Billy Baron shots tough,and they did just that. Baron did not get his first bucket until close to 11 minutes into the first half. What hurt the Griffs was the play of Iona guard A.j. English who seemed to score every time down the floor. English finished with a game high 32 points.
With a back and forth 2nd half, the Iona would end up pulling away late taking down the Griffs 101-91. Iona now takes a 2 game lead in MAAC Conference, with Canisius in a 2nd place tie with Manhattan. Canisius will look to bounce back Friday when they travel to rival Niagara.