St. John’s and Niagara shot a combined 29.2 percent Wednesday in a game that might have set basketball back to the days of the center jump and two-handed set shot.
The host Red Storm defeated the Purple Eagles, 48-44, before 5,602 at Carnesecca Arena in Queens. It was the 100th meeting of the Vincentian rivals.
Niagara scored the first basket of the game and never led again but stayed in contact with coach Chris Mullin’s home team. After falling behind, 9-2, the Purple Eagles closed to 19-18 and trailed, 27-20 at the half.
Niagara kept the heat on in the second half, closing to 38-33 after a steal and dunk by Emile Blackman. It was 45-42 with 1:27 left after a layup by freshman Dominic Robb of the Purple Eagles but Christian Jones made a pair of free throws with 33 seconds left to make it 47-42. Matt Scott’s jumper with 18 seconds to go cut it to three again with 18 seconds.
Ron Mvouika of the Red Storm missed the second of two free throws at 0:13 to leave it at 48-44, but the Purple Eagles failed to control the rebound.
Scott had 14 points and 16 rebounds for Niagara, Federico Mussini led the Red Storm with 11 and Jones had 10. Niagara made only 14 of 56 shots for 25 percent and was only 3 for 18 from three-point range (16.7). St. John’s wasn’t much better, hitting 19 of 57 for 33.3 percent and was only 3 for 17 from outside the arc for 17.6 percent. The free throw shooting on each side was just as poor. Niagara made 13 of 24 while St. John’s was 7 of 14.
The Canisius men’s team (3-4) travels out of state for the first time this season when it takes on Penn State (5-3) at Rec Hall, the Nittany Lions’ former home court in State College, Pa., Thursday night (Radio 1230, 7 p.m.). The game is part of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic.
The Griffs are coming off a 78-76 home loss to Quinnipiac after a win over Monmouth.
Canisius is averaging 87.3 points per game, which ranks 11th in the nation.
The Nittany Lions are 4-1 at home with the loss to Radford. They lost, 76-66, at George Washington on Tuesday.