It's not the way you start, but the way you finish.
So the lesson goes for the Canisius men's basketball team. The Golden Griffins scored the first 12 points of the game but came away with a 73-69 loss at Rider on Sunday afternoon.
Niagara, meanwhile, suffered from offensive problems, dropping a 68-64 decision at Fairfield.
The Purple Eagles are tied for sixth place in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference with Siena and Loyola, while Canisius is tied for last with Rider.
In Lawrenceville, N.J., the Griffs shot 52 percent from the field in the first half and jumped to a 22-9 lead. A 14-2 run by the Broncs gave them a 25-24 lead -- their first of the game. Rider held a 38-35 halftime edge.
In the second half, Canisius had a 50-47 lead when Rider went on a 9-0 run, hitting three straight three-pointers for a 56-50 lead with 9:28 left.
The Griffs had all five starters in double figures, led by Corey Herring's 19 points and eight rebounds, but got no points from the bench. Chuck Harris added 14 points, Jon Popofski 13, Darnell Wilson 12 and Kevin Downey 11 for the Griffs (5-16, 4-9).
Jason Thompson scored 16 points for Rider (8-13, 4-9). The Broncs converted 13 Canisius turnovers into 19 points.
There were seven ties and seven lead changes in the game.
In Bridgeport, Conn., Niagara and Fairfield were tied, 9-9, when the Stags went on a 9-0 run. Fairfield took a 34-24 halftime lead and never trailed.
Niagara hung around, though. A three-pointer by Lorenzo Miles with 4:23 left put the Purple Eagles within six, 61-55. Another three by Stanley Hodge with 27 seconds left made it a four-point game, 66-62, but Fairfield got an offensive rebound and Herbie Allen hit two free throws to secure the win.
Clif Brown scored 22 points with 15 rebounds for Niagara (8-13, 5-8), while Miles and J.R. Duffey each scored 13 points.
Fairfield, which shot 51 percent from the field, was led by Terrence Todd's 14 points. The Stags (8-13, 6-7) hit six of eight three-point attempts.
Canisius and Niagara will play for the final time in the regular season Wednesday in the Gallagher Center. Niagara won the earlier meeting in the Koessler Center, 93-84.