Canisius announces full 2017-18 schedule

Jermaine Crumpton (2) and Malik Johnson (1) defend De’Aaron Fox during the first half at Rupp Arena last season. (Photo: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports)

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A season-opening contest at cross-town rival Buffalo, a Thanksgiving trip to California, and long-time rivals St. Bonaventure and Niagara on the floor inside the Koessler Athletic Center highlight the 2017-18 Canisius men’s basketball schedule, announced Monday. In all, Canisius is scheduled to play 30 games during the program’s 114th season, which includes 18 MAAC games in an unbalanced scheduling format.

As part of the MAAC’s new scheduling format, each team will play nine home games and nine road contests against conference rivals. Canisius will play at Manhattan Jan. 19 in the Golden Griffins’ only scheduled meeting with the Jaspers, while Fairfield comes to Buffalo Feb. 12 for the lone match-up between two of the league’s Jesuit schools. This will mark the first time since 1989-90, Canisius’ first year in the MAAC, where the Blue and Gold did not play Manhattan and Fairfield twice during the conference’s regular season.

After starting the year at cross-town rival Buffalo Nov. 11, Canisius will travel to Colorado to play Air Force on Nov. 15, in the first game of the Men Against Breast Cancer Showcase event. That game will serve as the first time Canisius has played Air Force on the hardwood. Canisius’ last game against a service academy came during the 2008-09 campaign when the Griffs defeated Navy at home by a score of 68-63.

Canisius will return home Nov. 18 when Youngstown State comes to town for the Griffs’ 2017-18 home opener. Canisius leads the series over Youngstown State by a 5-0 count, which includes a 90-84 road win last season. Following the home opener, the Griffs will start a four-game road swing Nov. 21 at Tennessee State. After closing out the home-and-home series with the Tigers in Nashville, Tenn., Canisius will fly across the country to play three games in three days in the back-half of the Men Against Breast Cancer Showcase Nov. 24-26. Those three games will be played at Pacific in Stockton, Calif. Canisius will play the host Tigers, Texas State and Arkansas Pine-Bluff on those three days. The official schedule for those games in the Men Against Breast Cancer Showcase will be announced in the near future.

The Blue and Gold will start the month of December at home on Dec. 2, when the team hosts Dartmouth, with tipoff set for 4 p.m. On Dec. 6, Griffs and St. Bonaventure Bonnies will renew their long-standing rivalry in the Koessler Athletic Center. This year’s meeting will be the 166th meeting between the two Western New York schools, and it will also mark just the seventh time the Bonnies have played in the Koessler Athletic Center since the series began in 1920. Canisius will play at Evansville Dec. 9, in a rematch of a CIT quarterfinal game from 2013. After final exam week, the Griffs will head down the New York State Thruway to play Albany Dec. 17, and the team will close out non-league play Dec. 22 when the squad travels to play at Robert Morris. That game will be played in PPG Paints Arena in downtown Pittsburgh, the home building of the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins.

After taking time off for the Christmas holiday, Canisius will start league play at home Dec. 29, when Rider comes to Buffalo. The Dec. 29 date stands as the latest conference opening date for Canisius since 1995-96. The Griffs will close out the 2017 calendar year on New Year’s Eve, when the team plays host to defending MAAC champion Iona. Canisius last played on New Year’s Eve during the 2007-08 campaign, when the Griffs scored an 81-70 home win over Maine. The New Year’s Eve game against the Gaels will mark just the 11th time in program history where Canisius has played on the final day of the calendar year.

The Griffs will start the 2018 calendar year on the road with a pair of games at Quinnipiac (Jan. 5) and Siena (Jan. 7). The team returns home the following weekend to play host to Saint Peter’s (Jan. 12) and Monmouth (Jan. 14) before traveling to New York City Jan. 19 and Jan. 21 for games at Manhattan and Iona. On Jan. 27, Canisius will host rival Niagara in the Koessler Athletic Center for a rare Saturday home date against the Purple Eagles. The last time Canisius hosted Niagara on a Saturday came during the 2001-02 campaign.

February starts with two road games for Canisius, as the Griffs play at Marist Feb. 2, before traveling to play at Saint Peter’s on Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 4). Canisius returns home for its longest homestand of the season Feb. 8, as the team plays host to Siena before taking on Quinnipiac (Feb. 10) and Fairfield (Feb. 12). The Griffs join Iona and Monmouth as the only three schools in the MAAC play three games in a five-day stretch during the conference slate. After playing three straight at home, the Blue and Gold will be on the road for three-straight, starting at Monmouth Feb. 16. The Blue and Gold will also play at Rider (Feb. 18) before traveling north on I-190 to close out the annual Battle of the Bridge series with Niagara on Feb. 21. The Griffs will close out the regular-season at home Feb. 25 when the team hosts Marist on Senior Day.

The 2018 MAAC Men’s Basketball Championship is set to run March 1-5 at Times Union Center in Albany, N.Y.

Season tickets for the combined men and women’s home schedule can be purchased or renewed by calling the Canisius Ticket Office at (716) 888-TIXX between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, or by logging on to Reserved seats can be purchased for $220, with general admission season tickets costing $125.

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