The Niagara men’s basketball team picked up a much-needed victory on Sunday afternoon – on the road, no less.
The Purple Eagles improved to 2-6 (1-1 in Metro Atlantic) with a 74-58 win at Iona.
Meanwhile, Canisius came out firing but couldn’t outscore Monmouth. The Hawks beat the visiting Golden Griffins, 94-88.
In women’s basketball, the University at Buffalo team is off to its best start since 2000-01. The Bulls moved to 7-0 win a 74-50 win over Hofstra.
In other women’s games on Sunday, a fast start was a key for Canisius. The Golden Griffins downed Monmouth, 74-54. Niagara dropped a 76-56 decision to visiting Rider.
In men’s play, the Purple Eagles had a nice 11-2 burst in the middle of the first half to take charge. They had a 40-28 lead at the half. The Gaels got the lead down to four in the first few minutes of the second half, but Niagara responded with another 11-2 burst to pull away.
Matt Scott had 20 points to lead the Purple Eagles, while Kahlil Dukes supplied 17.
The Canisius men (3-5, 1-1 MAAC) packed their shooting skills for the road game, as the Golden Griffins tied a school record with 16 three-pointers. Eight of those came in the first half, and the number was topped by the nine three-pointers hit by the Hawks that gave them a 49-45 lead. Monmouth calmed down a bit from long range in the second half, and the game was tied with 2:43 left. But Monmouth went on an 8-0 run to decide the contest.
Kassius Robertson finished with 29 points in only 34 minutes. He was 7 for 10 from three-point range. Jermaine Crumpton added 15 points.
Stephanie Reid had a big game for UB. She picked up four assists to move into 11th place on the school’s all-time list. The point guard also had 16 points and three steals. JoAnna Smith had 16 points including a pair of three-pointers; she now has 133 in her career to rank fifth in UB history.
The Pride had a two-point lead early in the second quarter, but a 7-0 run by the Bulls took care of that. UB finished strong with 27 points in the fourth quarter.
The Bulls made it to 8-0 in 2000-01, and this season’s team will have the chance to duplicate that on Thursday night. UB will play Canisius at the Koessler Athletic Center.
Canisius rolled up 46 points in the first half, only four away from the school record. That was good for a 10-point lead at halftime, and the Golden Griffins (2-5) went on to take their first game in the Metro Atlantic this season. They also ended a four-game losing streak.
“We just wanted to get a win,” head coach Terry Zeh said. “We made some adjustments with some different rotations in the lineup. We did some different things in practice to work on our deficiencies. To come out today and get this one in the fashion we did was really, really good.”
Sara Hinriksdottir and Margret Halfdanardottir led the way for Canisius, scoring 17 and 16 points respectively.
At the Gallagher Center, the Purple Eagles started slowly, falling behind by 15-5 lead at the start of the game. The margin went as high as 13 points before the first period had ended. Rider maintained a lead of somewhere around 10 points for much of the game – although it was up, 41-23, at halftime. The Broncs pulled away in the final minutes of the game.
“It was a really tough game,” said Niagara head coach Jada Pierce. “We prepared, we practiced and we got ready for Rider all week, but we just really didn’t play good defense today.”
Kayle Stroemple had 15 points for the Purple Eagles (3-4, 1-1 MAAC), while Tiffany Corselli and Morgan Baughman had 12 points. The Eagles host Hartford on Wednesday night.