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Canisius gets Loyola back-to-back

BALTIMORE -- Canisius has a firm grasp of what it needs to do in order to win its first game of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament.

Stop Andre Collins.

Collins scored 14 of his 25 points in the second half Sunday as Loyola earned a 59-54 win over the Golden Griffins in Reitz Arena.

With Canisius (8-19, 6-12 MAAC) getting the No. 9 seed and the Greyhounds (15-12, 8-10) securing the No. 6 seed, the teams will meet in the opening round of the conference tournament at 9:15 p.m. Friday in the Pepsi Arena in Albany.

It was a disappointing finish to the regular season for Canisius, which had a 28-20 lead at halftime thanks to 10 first-half points by Kevin Downey.

But the Greyhounds went on 13-0 run in the second half to take a 44-34 lead with 9:06 left, and they held the lead for the rest of the game in front of 2,551.

"It's a simple game. If you make shots, you do a lot better," Canisius coach Mike MacDonald said. "We just didn't make shots, and we had great looks. We played well enough defensively to win. . . . We have to come up with a better answer for Collins."

Collins, who became the first player at Loyola to reach 700 points in a season, scored 26 points against the Griffs in a 95-80 win in Buffalo on Jan. 12.

Downey led Canisius with 16 points. Darnell Wilson set a school record with eight blocked shots while adding eight rebounds and eight points.

Meanwhile, defending conference champion Niagara (10-17, 7-11) earned the No. 7 seed and will play No. 8 Fairfield (9-18, 7-11) at 7 p.m. Friday in the first round.

The teams split the regular-season series. Niagara won, 78-73, Jan. 12 in the Gallagher Center, while Fairfield won, 68-64, Feb. 5 in Bridgeport, Conn.

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