The Niagara men’s basketball team had an early lead but it was shortlived at OceanFirst Bank Center in West Long Branch, N.J., as the Purple Eagles were defeated by Monmouth, 93-75, in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
Justin Robinson canned seven three-pointers during a 27-point outburst to lead the hosts. Monmonth (23-5, 15-2) became the first team in the country to clinch an outright regular-season conference title.
Niagara (9-19, 6-11) had an early 11-0 lead on the Hawks. They seized control with a 13-3 run as Robinson buried three treys during the blitz. NU trailed 54-36 at halftime.
Kahlil Dukes had 20 points to lead the Purple Eagles. Matt Scott, who was coming off a career best 34-point effort – the most points in a game by a Purple Eagle in four years, was held to just 12.
Niagara has lost its last eight meetings with Monmouth.
Canisius, NU women split
The Canisius women’s basketball team earned a 61-56 victory over Saint Peter’s at the Koessler Center in MAAC play. The Griffs’ conference rival, Niagara, meanwhile dropped a tough 70-68 decision to Siena in which the Saints scored the game-winning basket with 1 second left.
The Golden Griffins limited their guest to just 31.5 percent shooting, which includes a 4-for-19 effort from beyond the arc in earning their ninth win of the season but eighth victory in the MAAC.
Sara Hinriksdottir had 17 points as four Canisius (9-17, 8-9) players hit double-figures. Margret Halfdanardottir made 3-of-5 three-pointers and finished with 13 points for the Griffs, while Lauren D’Hont also scored 13 points. Maria Welch scored 11 for Canisius, which outscored Saint Peter’s 10-4 in the first quarter. The Griffs scored 10 of the game’s first 12 points to seize control.
The Griffs led 61-49 with just over 1:30 left. Zoe Pero had 18 points to lead the Peahens (3-23, 2-15).
Canisius hosts Siena at 2 p.m. Saturday.
At the Gallagher Center in Lewiston, Jackie Benitez’s layup with 1 second left broke a 68-68 tie. Nine seconds earlier Jamie Sherburne’s three-pointer gave Purple Eagles fans a reason to cheer as it tied the game.
Benitez finished with 21 points for Siena (11-16, 10-8).
Victoria Rampado led Niagara
(7-19, 4-13) with 22 points and six boards.
The Purple Eagles host Saint Peter’s Saturday at 3 p.m. on Senior Day at the Gallagher Center.
Big 4 Friday
Canisius’ men’s basketball team hits the road for the final time until the start of the postseason as the Golden Griffins head to Alumni Gymnasium in Lawrenceville, N.J., to take on Rider in a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference clash Friday (7 p.m., 1230 AM, 102.9 FM).
Canisius (16-11, 9-7) has won three of its last four games since dropping a 72-66 decision at home to Rider on Jan. 30 – including Tuesday’s 89-83 triumph over Iona at Koessler Center. Kassius Robertson and Jermaine Crumpton (Niagara Falls) each lead Canisius in scoring, averaging 17.0 ppg.