Niagara coach Joe Mihalich, a La Salle alumnus, and his Purple Eagles helped make the first Explorers' men's basketball tournament a forgettable experience for the home team before a crowd of 2,522 at Tom Gola Arena in Philadelphia Saturday night.
Charron Fisher made all 10 free throw attempts and scored 27 points, leading Niagara to an 88-82 victory over the Explorers in the final game of the La Salle Invitational.
Lorenzo Miles scored 22 points and Clif Brown added 20 points and 11 rebounds for the Purple Eagles (6-7).
Niagara finished with a 2-1 record in the tournament, the same as Holy Cross and Delaware. La Salle lost its fourth in a row, including all three games in its own tournament to Delaware, Holy Cross and Niagara.
Yves Mekongo Mbala scored a career-high 23 points and Ruben Guillandeaux added a career-best 19 on 9-of-9 shooting for the Explorers (6-6). Darnell Harris finished with 15 and Mike St. John had 10.
Niagara led, 78-66, with 2:11 remaining before the Explorers closed within 84-79 with 26.6 seconds left, but the Purple Eagles held on.
Niagara shot 29 for 33 from the line, including 10 for 12 in the final 1:09, and out-rebounded La Salle, 44-31, including 21 on the offensive boards.
Niagara built a 12-point lead, 34-22, on two free throws by Stanley Hodge with 4:56 left in the first half. Niagara held a 43-36 advantage at halftime.
The win left Mihalich with a 1-1 record against his alma mater. He was a 1978 LaSalle graduate and co-captain of the team. In the first game, Keith Simmons scored 14 of his 17 points in the second half and Holy Cross (8-6) held on to beat Delaware, 49-47. Herb Courtney led Delaware (2-10) with 24 points and 11 rebounds.
WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: St. Bonaventure (9-5) rolled past Rider, 75-59, in the championship game of the Wagner Holiday Tournament on Staten Island for its fifth win in a row, all on the road.
Ashley Edwards led the Bonnies with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Audrey Latendresse and Dana Mitchell each had 15 in a well-balanced attack.
The Bonnies led by as many as 22 points in the second half, 58-36, and had no difficulty holding off the Broncs (1-11) of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
Bona made 28 of 57 shots for 48 percent and were 15 of 21 at the line. The Bonnies had a 36-25 rebounding advantage.
St. Bonaventure has a nonconference game at Albany on Tuesday night before swinging into Atlantic 10 Conference action at Duquesne on Jan. 9.