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Canisius holds on to win, Niagara loses

Canisius and Niagara’s men’s basketball teams both played exciting games on the road Friday night that went down to the last minute. The Golden Griffins picked up a nice win, while the Purple Eagles fell short.

Canisius hit on four straight free throws in the final 12 seconds to win at Manhattan, 65-62.

The Griffs led this one most of the way. However, the Jaspers put on a spurt to even the game with about four minutes to go. It was back and forth down the stretch from there.

With 14 seconds left, Phil Valenti hit two of those free throws to give Canisius the lead. Manhattan had a chance to win, but Zane Waterman missed a lay-up and Valenti blocked a shot. Malcolm McMillan came down with the rebound. McMillan was immediately fouled with one second left, and he made both of his free throws to essentially ice the game.

Valenti finished with 28 points and six rebounds in an outstanding performance. He was 10 of 14 from the field and eight of 10 from the free-throw line. McMillan finished with 17 points and six rebounds.

Shane Richards led Manhattan with 17 points.

Canisius moved to 8-10, 3-4 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.

Manhattan fell to 6-10, 3-4.

The Griffs play at Quinnipiac on Sunday afternoon.

Meanwhile, Fairfield took charge of the game in the final 90 seconds to beat Niagara, 73-68. The Stags and Purple Eagles were tied, 63-63, but Fairfield closed with a 10-5 edge to earn the win. The Stags only led by two points in the final six seconds, but made a couple of free throws – one after an offensive rebound – to earn the win.

Matt Scott led Niagara with 17 points, while Justin Satchell had 16 points and Emile Blackman added 13. Tyler Nelson had 27 points for Fairfield to lead all scorers, and Marcus Gilbert added 17.

Niagara, which had won two in a row, fell to 5-13, 3-4 in the MAAC. Fairfield edged above .500 at 9-8, 3-4 MAAC. The Purple Eagles play at Manhattan on Sunday afternoon.

In women’s basketball, Niagara dropped a 61-54 decision to Quinnipiac, the defending MAAC champions, at the Gallagher Center in a Friday morning matchup.

The Purple Eagles stayed close to the Bobcats for most of the game. Quinnipiac was only up by five at the half. In the second half, a little spurt pushed Niagara within seven, 47-40, in the fourth quarter. But Quinnipiac and the Eagles traded baskets the rest of the way.

The Bobcats improved to 8-7, 3-3 MAAC, while Niagara – which had won three straight games – fell to 6-10, 3-4 MAAC.

“The rebounding and the turnovers are the two things that stand out about this game,” said Purple Eagles coach Jada Pierce. “Those are things we talked about this week. We knew Quinnipiac was a good rebounding team and that we had to keep them off the boards. We didn’t do a good job of that today. As far as the turnovers, I think our guards got a little out of sorts because of the pressure they were under for most of the game and we just didn’t handle that well.”

Sam Lapszynski had 19 points and 10 rebounds for Niagara, the seventh double-double of her career. Tiffany Corselli and Taylor McKay had nine points each for the Purple Eagles.

Niagara returns to action on Sunday afternoon at home against Rider.