A game between Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference bottom feeders may have seemed like an odd choice to be televised, but Canisius and Saint Peter's provided great theater Sunday afternoon.
Especially for fans of the Peacocks.
Ryan Bacon's tip-in at the buzzer gave Saint Peter's a 59-58 win that coach John Dunne called the best in his three years at the helm. Third-year Canisius coach Tom Parrotta was on the opposite end of the spectrum.
"It feels like somebody is kicking me in the stomach," he said. "It came down to an unfortunate bounce and it went their way -- we're a pretty unlucky team."
The ending left the 919 in attendance at the Koessler Center stunned silent and spoiled a career day for Golden Griffins sophomore Greg Logins. The 6-foot-7 forward played all 40 minutes for the first time, finishing with a career-high 26 points and 13 rebounds. It was the one board he didn't get, however, that proved to be the difference.
After Saint Peter's sophomore Nick Leon's runner in the dying seconds went long, Bacon slipped past Logins and the Canisius defense for the tip. The ending was especially bitter for the Griffs since they had just squandered an opportunity to ice the game. On the Peacocks' previous possession, Canisius sophomore Elton Frazier stripped Bacon to give the Griffs possession with a 58-57 lead and 21 seconds to play. After a timeout, Griffs guard Robert Goldsberry's inbounds pass never made it to teammate Frank Turner.
Instead, the ball was deflected and a mad scramble on the floor ensued. Parrotta screamed for a timeout, but it wasn't granted and the jump ball went to the Peacocks.
"We're beating ourselves every night," Turner said.
Canisius (7-17, 2-12) wasn't fazed by the unusual 11:30 a.m. start time, jumping to a 12-point lead three times in the first half, including when Turner hit a three-pointer with 4:05 left to make it 31-19. The Griffs, though, scored just four more points before halftime, allowing the Peacocks to stay close.
"We didn't dig too deep a hole," Dunne said.
Both teams struggled from the floor. Canisius went 22 for 56 (39.3 percent), while the Peacocks (7-17, 4-10) were 20 for 55 (36.4 percent).
Matched up for most of the afternoon against each other, Leon and Turner each finished with 17 points. Bacon finished with 18 points and tied a career high with 15 rebounds.
The Griffs will conclude their season-long three-game homestand at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday when rival Niagara visits the Koessler Center.