Niagara and Canisius have won on the road on the same day before, but one can’t be blamed for being slightly shocked it happened Thursday night. The last time the two men’s basketball teams achieved the feat was Jan. 25, 2013.
Niagara made the plays late after Fairfield tied things to pull out a 55-53 win at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Conn.
Dominique Reid’s traditional three-point play with under five minutes left broke a 39-39 tie and gave the Purple Eagles the lead for good.
Meanwhile, undermanned Canisius forced overtime on a Jeremiah Williams three-pointer with 57 seconds left and then fended off host Siena, 69-63, at Times Union Center in Albany.
In Bridgeport, Reid’s 14-point, 11-rebound effort proved to be the spark for Niagara (5-21, 4-13), which snapped a four-game losing streak. After the Stags pulled within 47-44 with 1:32 left, Reid hit a layup and then hit a free throw to make it 52-47 with 28 seconds left. NU led by five when Fairfield hit a trey at the buzzer.
In Albany, Canisius used a 10-2 run sparked by Josiah Heath’s jumper to overcome a 61-59 deficit in the final 2:53. Kevin Bleeker’s layup tied it at 63. Kassius Robertson (12 points) scored four straight points after that to give Canisius the lead for good.
Williams led the Griffs with 18 points, followed by Heath’s 14. Bleeker finished with 12 points.
A couple of questions before two of the area’s Big 4 women’s teams take the floor for their final weekend home appearances.
What can Niagara do for an encore following last Sunday’s win at nine-time defending Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference champion Marist?
Can Canisius’ Terry Zeh achieve that 100 MAAC wins milestone before the home folks? The mysteries start unfolding Friday night.
Niagara puts its three-game winning streak on the line when it hosts Monmouth (9-14, 5-9) at 6 p.m. The Purple Eagles (12-13, 8-8) have won four of five. Meghan McGuinness leads NU at 13 points per game.
The Purple Eagles’ final home game is Sunday versus Rider.
In Buffalo at 7 p.m. Friday night, the Golden Griffins (8-17, 6-10) look to return to their winning ways as they open a three-game home stand against Rider (10-16, 7-9), a program they are 30-8 against all-time.
Zeh has been stuck on 98 career MAAC wins as Canisius has endured a five-game losing streak since winning Jan. 30 at Monmouth.
The Griffs host Monmouth on Sunday and Niagara on Tuesday.