Going into Thursday’s battle with Canisius, it was not clear whether the Saints would have standout forward Brett Bisping. Bisping had not practiced in a few days while battling a sickness. Bisping did manage to start, albeit with limited minutes. In the end, his skills weren’t needed as much as usual, with the Saints going on for the win, 90-67.
The Saints held their own from the start, having gathered halftime an 18 point lead by halftime (42-24). Although the stats sheet didn’t say it, The Golden Griffs easily could have had things closer. To their credit, several shots should have gone in that didn’t. To put it simply, the Saints were just the better shooting team, led by Javion Ogunyemi with 10 points. Ogunyemi didn’t just lead both teams in scoring, he was also the only guy on the floor to have double digits in the scoring column. Not only that, he also was the only man on the court to put more than one in beyond the arc, going 2 for 5. With the Saints commanding all aspects of the game, the Golden Griffs were going to have to make some serious adjustments for any chance of walking out of the TU Center with a W.
If Canisius fans thought the first half was rough, they were in for an even more depressing second half. Shot after shot they tried, and still no change on the scoreboard for the Golden Griffs. Like the first half, Canisius had no answer for the Saints strong offensive game. As Ogunyemi continued to put on a strong show, Freshman guard Nico Clareth rose from the rafters. Clareth would end up finishing the game with a team high 22 points. Ogunyemi would finish with 21, with a handful of other Saints also putting up double digits including Bisping’s 15 points. Not bad, considering we weren’t even sure sure would play. The majority of Bisping’s points came within the tail end of the second half, something Jimmy Patsos addressed after the game. ” He didn’t practice all week so he wanted to go back in the end… we weren’t trying to run up the score or anything we just have to get our guys ready for Iona on Saturday”.
As the Saints get ready for a quick turn around at Iona on Saturday, it should be noted that the schedule doesn’t play in their favor. Iona will be coming into Saturday with just shy of a week’s rest, while the Saints will have had just 2 days. Patso was pragmatic about that saying, “We have to play Iona Saturday at 2:00pm and they didn’t play this week, but that’s ok…nothing you can do about it, it’s the schedule.”
Saturday’s game can be heard on Talk 1300 AM, starting with the pre-game at 1:30pm.