Holiday basketball tournament play wasn't kind to the Niagara men or the Canisius women Thursday night as both absorbed blowout losses in first-round games.
Niagara suffered an embarrassing 71-53 loss to previously winless Delaware at La Salle's Explorer Classic in Philadelphia.
Meanwhile, Canisius fell behind, 13-0, and never caught up in dropping an 83-46 decision to host Montana at the Lady Griz Classic in Missoula.
Niagara (4-8) gave up a 13-1 run in the final 4 1/2 minutes of the first half to fall behind, 33-25, at intermission. Delaware (1-9) led the rest of the way in ending NU's three-game winning streak, snapping its worst start since 1929 and getting new coach Monte Ross his first win.
Clif Brown led Niagara with just nine points. Five other Purple Eagles had eight.
Junior forward Herb Courtney led Delaware with 22 points and junior guard Sam McMahon came off the bench to score a career-high 20 after entering the game averaging just 3.9. The Blue Hens burned Niagara from long range, canning 11 of 19 three-pointers.
Niagara meets Holy Cross tonight at 8 (Radio 1440 AM).
Meanwhile, the Canisius women (7-5) went scoreless for the first 4:39 before finally finding their offense in front of 4,106 in Dahlberg Arena. Eventually, the Golden Griffins pulled within three points (27-24) on freshman Brittane Russell's three-pointer with 6:48 to go in the half. Montana (11-1) responded by outscoring Canisius, 20-6, to take a 47-30 lead at intermission.
The Griffs hit just 18 of 72 from the field. Russell led Canisius with 16 points. Guard Mandy Morales paced Montana with 19. The Griffins play Idaho (3-7) in the consolation game tonight at 7.