Canisius had not won a men's basketball game against Boston University in Boston in its last eight tries dating back to 1986. Wednesday night, the Golden Griffins seized a 48-35 halftime lead then withstood a three-point shooting barrage by the Terriers in the second half for an 87-77 victory in Case Gymnasium.
Kassius Robertson of the Griffs made 5 of 8 three-point attempts as he led the scoring with 19 points, but others made major contributions including two freshmen. Isaiah Reese, a 6 -5 first-year guard from Miami, had his best game yet for Canisius with 16 points. Freshman guard Malik Johnson had only four points, but they came on some clutch free throws in the final minute when he also made a steal which led to a dunk by Kiefer Douse and an 87-77 lead.
Meanwhile, the Niagara men and women's teams split their games. The Purple Eagles men were routed at Kent State, 100-72. The Niagara women led all the way in a 75-62 win over Hartford at the Gallagher Center in Lewiston.
Canisius (4-5) was riding a 57-41 advantage and seemed on the way to a solid victory. Then fifth-year senior Cedric Hankerson went to work. He hit a pair of threes to spark a 13-3 run by the Terriers, cutting the margin to 59-54. Boston U. (4-5) got as close as three points, 71-68 with 4:49 left, but Canisius was able to hold off the Terriers.
Jermaine Crumpton had 16 points and Phil Valenti 12 for Canisius. Crumpton, who had seven boards, came down with a key defensive rebound in the final minute.
Hankerson led led Boston U. with 18 points. He made 5 of 8 three-pointers before fouling out in the final minute.
Canisius shot made 31 of 61 field goal attempts to Boston U.'s 28 for 61. From three-point range, Canisius was 11 of 22 while B.U. was 10 for 22.
Niagara proved no match for Kent State, which has loaded up on transfers to join star forward Jimmy Hall. The Golden Flashes led by as many as 30 points in the rout, which followed Niagara's biggest win in recent years at Iona on Sunday.
Kent State led all the way. Hall had 20 points while center Adonis De La Rosa, a junior college transfer, had 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Shane Gatling had 18 points and Kahlil Dukes 17 for Niagara (2-7). Kent State is 6-3.
Kaylee Stroemer with 24 points and Victoria Rampado with 20 led the Niagara women (4-4) to their impressive victory over Hartford (7-3). Deanna Mayza had 22 for Hartford which lost despite making 8 of 17 three-point shots to Niagara's 6 of 17.
The University at Buffalo, which at No. 15 this week has achieved the highest RPI (Ratings Percentage Index) in its women's basketball history will put its 7-0 record on the line against Canisius (2-5) Thursday night (Radio 1520, 7 p.m.).
A victory by the Bulls would equal the best start in the history of the sport at UB -- 8-0 by the 2000-01 team.
Although Canisius leads the all-time rivalsy 30-13, UB has won the last three and five of the last six against the Griffs. The Bulls won, 54-40, last season at Alumni Arena.
UB is coming of a 74-50 win over Hofstra, a 69-point turnaround against the Pride in one year. Hofstra had defeated the Bulls, 79-36, in Hempstead last season. Canisius opened its Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference season last weekend with a 71-70 loss to Rider and a 74-54 victory over Monmouth, both at home. After four straight home games, the Golden Griffins will play at Ohio State at 2 p.m. on Sunday. After Thursday, UB will be off until a noon home game against St. Bonaventure on Dec. 21.