The nation's winningest road team picked up a milestone triumph for longtime coach Joe Mihalich.
The Niagara men won for the 13th time away from the Gallagher Center, beating Fairfield, 83-76, in a nationally televised Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference showdown Saturday night at the Arena at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport, Conn.
Benson Egemonye was nearly flawless from the floor as the Purple Eagles' 6-foot-10 center poured in 23 points on 11-of-14 shooting as NU trailed just once, early in the first half, in securing Mihalich's 200th career win.
Rob Garrison (Niagara Falls) added 20 points for Niagara, while Tyrone Lewis had 12 as Niagara (21-6, 12-3) won its seventh straight game and remained in contention for the regular-season MAAC title.
NU led by four at halftime, but scored the first seven points of the second half in just 79 seconds to take a 46-35 lead. Fairfield (15-12, 8-8) pulled within five on three occasions but that's as close as the Stags got in losing their third in a row.
Saturday night's game was the first of four straight nationally televised games for Niagara. The Purple Eagles' game at Rider on Wednesday night will be carried on Fox College Sports and air locally on Ch. 67. Niagara hosts Illinois State at 7 p.m. Friday night on ESPN2 and then faces Siena on Feb. 27 on ESPNU.
Bona sets record
The St. Bonaventure women's team set a record for most wins in a season, and the best part about it is that the Bonnies still have four regular-season chances to add to their victory total.
Bona earned its 19th win by beating Fordham, 56-48, in an Atlantic 10 game at Rose Hill Gym in the Bronx. Katelyn Murray scored 11 points, while Dana Mitchell added 10 as the Bonnies (19-6, 8-2) won their fourth in a row.
As usual, Bona's defense had a hand in this triumph. The Bonnies have held three of their last four opponents under 50 points and scored 26 points off 26 Rams turnovers Saturday.
In the Arena at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport, Conn., Canisius not only won its 11th straight road game but also kept hope alive for winning the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference regular-season title.
Marie Warner's jumper with 17 seconds left put the Golden Griffins up for good in a 55-51 win over Fairfield. J.J. Williams sank two free throws with eight seconds left for Canisius (19-6, 11-3) which stands alone in second place, 1 1/2 games behind first-place Marist (22-3, 13-2).
Amanda Cavo scored a team-high 16 points for the Griffs, who trailed, 31-28, at halftime but surged ahead quickly during a second half that featured five lead changes and four ties.
Baendu Lowenthal had 15 points to lead the Stags, which beat Canisius earlier this season in the Koessler Center.
In Alumni Arena, the University at Buffalo dropped a 70-63 decision to Mid-American Conference guest Northern Illinois. The visiting Huskies (13-11, 8-3) pulled away by canning 23 of 28 free throws. Rachelle Matthys and Jamie Schiebner each had 16 points for UB (5-19, 1-10), which wore pink uniforms while participating in the Women's Basketball Coaches Association's annual Pink Zone event used to support Breast Cancer Awareness.
The UB men (17-5, 9-1 MAC) carry a nine-game winning streak into their clash at Ball State (10-12, 5-5) at 2 p.m. (Radio 1230 AM). The Bulls have already set a program record for most consecutive wins in their Division I history.
The Niagara women (1-24, 0-14) look to snap a 22-game losing streak when they face Rider (14-10, 9-5) in a MAAC game in Lawrenceville, N.J.