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Niagara men fall to Iona at MSG

A big crowd and much of the college basketball world focused on Madison Square Garden as Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski won his 1,000th career game Sunday afternoon.

Niagara hit the court of the “World’s Most Famous Arena” in the second game of an MSG doubleheader, but there was not much for it to celebrate.

Niagara fell to conference-leading Iona, 87-64, as A.J. English scored 25 points, David Laury added 24 and the Gaels rolled in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference game.

English made 9 of 12 field goals, including 4 of 6 from beyond the arc. Laury was 11 of 18 from the field, had eight rebounds, six assists and a season-high four blocks.

Iona (15-6, 8-2 MAAC) shot 35 of 59 from the floor (59.3 percent), and has a one-game lead over Rider and Monmouth.

“It’s good for our guys,” Niagara coach Chris Casey said about playing at MSG. “We have a lot of young guys, so it’s good for them. They get thrown into this type of atmosphere and get a feel for it. I think that it’s a positive for them.”

Emile Blackman scored five points, and Wesley Myers and Ramone Snowden hit back-to-back threes to pull Niagara within 52-43 with 14:16 left. Iona answered with a 17-1 run.

Myers scored 18 points, Blackman had 15 and Snowden chipped in 13 with nine rebounds for Niagara (3-16, 2-8), which made its 49th appearance at Madison Square Garden and its first since 1997.

“They’re a very good team,” Casey said of Iona. “We did not play well. I thought we had some chances early on in the first half. We had some open looks that we didn’t make. Against a team like that you’ve got to make open looks early and try to play from in front and we didn’t do that.”

In Kingston, R.I., St. Bonaventure fell to the Rhode Island Rams, 53-48, as its win streak ended at three.

The game was tied at 47-47 after two free throws by Bona senior Youssou Ndoye with 2:32 left. T.J. Buchanan then made four straight free throws, the last of which gave Rhode Island (13-5, 5-2) a 51-47 lead with 1:37 remaining. Hassan Martin then blocked shots by Marcus Posley and Jaylen Adams, and the Rams sealed the win with two more free throws.

Dion Wright tied his career high with 22 points and also added 10 rebounds for St. Bonaventure (11-7, 4-3 A-10). Posley, the leading scorer in the A-10, was held to six points on 3-of-12 shooting. The Bonnies shot 35 percent from the field.

At the Koessler Athletic Center, the Canisius women fell to Iona (11-8 overall, 8-2 MAAC), as senior Damika Martinez’s 32 points led the visiting Gaels to an 80-62 victory.

The hot-shooting Gaels (47.7 from the floor and 47.6 from three-point land) took a 44-32 halftime lead. Junior Emily Weber was the leading scorer for Canisius (7-12, 5-5 MAAC) for just the fourth time this season, amassing 15 points on 3-for-4 three-point shooting.

There are no Big 4 basketball games today. The University at Buffalo men host Western Michigan at 7 p.m. in Tuesday’s only local action.