Niagara came back from a 10-point second-half deficit, scored the final three points of the game and upset Saint Peter’s, 57-55, in a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference men’s basketball Saturday afternoon in the Yanitelli Center in Jersey City, N.J. The outcome ended a four-game Saint Peter’s win streak and knocked the Peacocks out of a tie for first place in the MAAC.
The scrappy Purple Eagles (5-14, 3-6 MAAC), who have lost only three times by more than 10 points, finally were able to close out a game after four straight conference losses, including Monday’s overtime loss at home to Marist. Besides coming back from a 45-35 deficit, the largest lead of the game for the Peacocks, Niagara survived an off-day by one of their leading scorers. Kahlil Dukes made only 2 of 14 shots and scored just six points, but had a game-high six assists in the victory.
Niagara outscored Saint Peter’s 14-4 over a span of 7 minutes, 55 seconds to tie it at 49-all on a layup by Maurice Taylor with 6:06 left to play. The lead changed hands twice before a layup by Chris Barton put Niagara in front for good, 56-55, with 23 seconds to play. Matt Scott made the first of two free throws with 1 second left to close out the scoring.
Scott led Niagara with 15 points, moving him within 47 points of the 1,000 mark for his career. Marvin Prochet had 13 points and nine rebounds while Barton had 11 points. Niagara had only eight turnovers.
It was Niagara’s eighth win in the last 11 games against Saint Peter’s and it’s now 7-4 in its last 11 visits to Yanitelli Center.
The victory served as preparation for Monday night’s home game with rival Canisius at the Gallagher Center (TWCSN, Radio 550, 1230, 7 p.m.).
Meanwhile, sophomore Mckenna Maycock, who set the Western New York girls career scoring record at Randolph Central, scored 14 points, her career high at St. Bonaventure, in a 69-56 victory over Duquesne at the Reilly Center. Gabby Richmond led a balanced performance for the Bonnies with 11 points and 12 rebounds. Mariah Ruff had 13 points, Matea Britvar 12 points and nine rebounds and Jalisha Terry 12 points.
The Bonnies, who won their second in a row after a five-game losing streak, limited the Dukes to 33.3 percent shooting (21 of 63).
The Canisius women, fresh off Thursday night’s 65-57 win at Niagara, will try to make it two in a row when they face Fairfield in a MAAC game at 2 Sunday afternoon in the Koessler Center. The Griffs (5-14, 4-5 MAAC) will be facing the MAAC’s third-place team. Fairfield (9-9, 6-3 MAAC) is led by Kelsey Carey, the fifth-leading scorer in the conference (15.6).