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  • Colton Pankiewicz

Colton's Keys for Canisius: Men's Basketball vs. Mount St. Mary's

By Colton Pankiewicz, Sports Editor

In the opening round of last year's tournament, Canisius (#9 seed) watched their season end against Mount St. Mary’s (#8 seed) in overtime. The Griffs get a chance at revenge against the Mountaineers on Tuesday, March 12, and if they follow these key steps, I think they could secure the win.

1. Get Mitchell going early

Frank Mitchell has been the most dominant Griff against the Mount in his career, averaging 13 points and 12.5 rebounds against them in two games. Mitchell comes into the contest averaging 12.4 points and 11.7 rebounds per game. His rebound average sits at fourth best in the country. If the Griffs can get the big man going early, it could be a long night for Mount St. Mary’s. 

2. Control the Pace

It’s no secret that Canisius has struggled to stay healthy. The injury bug kept Griffs out of a combined 107 games this season more than any team in the conference. If Siem Uijtendaal is once again ruled out, Canisius will have just seven scholarship players available in Tuesday's game. With the Golden Griffins being limited in availability, it is crucial that they preserve enough energy early, to prevent a late-game burnout.

3. Take advantage of free throws

Prior to this season, Canisius had never finished a year with Reggie Witherspoon where they shot under 69% from the line. This year they’re converting at a rate of under 63% from the line, which is dead last in the MAAC and 347th in the country. In two games against the Mountaineers this season, Canisius is 14 of 22 from the charity stripe. Whether or not Canisius can take advantage of the free opportunities could be the difference in whether their season comes to an end or not.

4. Magic number 70

If the Griffs can pull out a win tonight, the odds are that their defense held Mount Saint Mary's to under 70. The Mount are 2-7 in games where they scored fewer than 70 points, including their 61-56 loss earlier this month to Canisius. Inversely, Canisius is 4-2 in conference play when they score 70 points or more.

5. Lead through 35 minutes of play

This isn’t a key as much as it is a fact, but since 2013-2014 Canisius is 121-17 when leading with five minutes remaining in regulation. Lead until that point and the odds weigh heavily in the Golden Griffin's favor.

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