St. Peter’s guard Doug Edert shoots against Maryland during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Friday, Dec. 4, 2020, in College Park, Md. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
- Visiting Saint Peter’s is a 5.5-point favorite over Canisius in the opener of a two-game Metro Athletic Atlantic Conference series at the Koessler Athletic Center in Buffalo
- Saint Peter’s KC Ndefo is averaging 3.4 blocked shot a game and is the reigning MAAC Defensive Player of the Year
- Canisius’ Majesty Brandon is averaging a team-leading 13.9 points a game while coming off the bench
Canisius will ring in the new year by hosting Saint Peter’s at 1:00 pm ET Friday – New Year’s Day – in a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference game at the Koessler Athletic Center in Buffalo.
Saint Peter’s figures to be a formidable foe for the homestanding Golden Griffins. The teams also play at 1:00 pm on Saturday.
With back-to-back victories and four wins in its last five games, Saint Peter’s is 6-3 overall and 3-1 in the MAAC. The Peacocks are .500 against the spread with a 4-4-1 mark.
All four of Canisius’ games have been inside the conference and it is 1-3 both straight up and ATS.
St Peter’s vs Canisius Odds
|St. Peter’s||-245||-5.5 (-110)||Over 138.5 (-110)|
|Canisius||+200||+5.5 (-110)||Under 138.5 (-110)|
Odds taken Dec. 31 from FanDuel.
Saint Peter’s Finishes ’20 Strong
Saint Peter’s finished the 2020 portion of its scheduled on a good note by notching a 70-64 road victory over St. Francis of Brooklyn as an eight-point favorite on Dec. 23.
A pair of sophomores, guard Doug Edert and forward Fousseyni Drame, led the way with 18 points apiece. Edert made nine of 10 foul shots. Drame added nine rebounds as he just missed a double-double.
𝐒𝐭𝐫𝐨𝐧𝐠 𝐌𝐨𝐯𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐖𝐞𝐞𝐤 | @HerculesTires
In the final installment of 2020, we’re looking back at this play from @PeacocksMBB’s win at St. Francis.
A trio of sophomores team up for a steal-and-slam with sophomore Fousseyni Drame hammering the dunk! #StrutUp🦚 pic.twitter.com/A2zN4ZBBc0
— Saint Peter’s Athletics (@SPUAthletics) December 29, 2020
Junior forward KC Ndefo had a fine overall effort as he finished with 15 points, 10 rebounds and five blocked shots.
Ndefo is one of the top rim protectors in the nation. He is averaging 3.4 blocks a game this season after averaging 2.4 rejections in 2019-20 when he was voted the MAAC Defensive Player of the Year.
KC Ndefo @HoopsShowdown pic.twitter.com/jv4SPMd1jL
— HS Basketball BR (@HSBasketballBR) May 10, 2017
Yet Ndefo is more than just a defensive specialist. He leads the team with a 12.1 scoring average and is also pulling down 5.3 rebounds a game.
Sophomore guard Daryl Banks III is the top backcourt scorer at 11.9 points a game. Drame, a native of Mali, is averaging 11.8 points and a team-best 8.1 boards.
Canisius Catching Up
Canisius did not have the benefit of playing any non-conference games as its season opener was delayed until Dec. 11 because of COVID-19 issues.
Coach Reggie Witherspoon is still tinkering with lineup combinations.
Here’s today’s starting 🖐 for the #Griffs, presented by @FreyElectric.
This will be the fourth different starting line-up for the Blue and Gold in game No. 4.#MAACHoops pic.twitter.com/cx0Sjsd1jA
— Canisius Basketball (@Griffs_MBB) December 28, 2020
Earlier this week, Canisius was overwhelmed at Monmouth in a two-game series, losing 84-66 on Sunday as a five-point underdog then getting routed 97-69 the next day as a 5.5-point dog.
The good news for Canisius in the second game is it showed good offensive balance with four players tied for the team lead in scoring. The bad news was that sophomore guard Malik Brooks, freshmen guard Siem Uijetendaal, senior guard Majesty Brandon and junior forward Malek Green had just 10 points each.
Brandon scored 12 points a day earlier and leads Canisius this season at 14.8 points a game. He has started just one of the first four games but averages 27 minutes.
Last season, Brandon also proved effective off the bench. He led the Griffins with a 13.9 scoring average despite starting five times in 32 games.
Brandon has also earned national notice for his unique style of free throw shooting.
” … if I’m doing something to put me in a rhythm, I’m blocking them out, and that’s going to get me more confident about taking my shot.”
Canisius guard Majesty Brandon shares more on a free-throw routine that’s made waves on social media. @Griffs_MBBhttps://t.co/MybcdpTnTS pic.twitter.com/UbtnHw5oks
— Rachel Lenzi 😷 (@rachelmlenzi) January 21, 2020
Green is an interesting story as he is averaging 11.3 points and 8.0 rebounds in his first season. He is a transfer from Monmouth, where he played football for one year.
However, Green was a standout high school basketball player in Lockport, N.Y., with averages of 25.5 points and 9.4 rebounds in his senior season of 2018-19.
In the teams’ two meetings last season, each won on the road.
Canisius notched a 72-68 victory in Jersey City as a 2.5-point underdog as Brandon scored 14 points. Brandon had 21 in the rematch in Buffalo, but Saint Peter’s won 69-68 as a two-point favorite. Ndefo had 14 points off the bench in the Peacocks’ triumph.
Look for the trend to continue. Even though they are laying points on the road, Saint Peter’s is the way to go in this one.
Pick: Saint’s Peters -5.5 (-110)
John Perrotto has been covering and writing about sports for various outlets for over 40 years. His work has appeared in the likes of USA TODAY, ESPN.com, SI.com, Forbes.com, The Associated Press, Baseball Digest, and more. John is based out of Beaver Falls, PA.