Niagara’s swarming defense was too much for Cleveland State on the Vikings’ final possession. The Purple Eagles forced the Vikings into a contested shot, which Marvin Prochet blocked emphatically to seal a 79-77 victory.
Niagara’s powerful duo of Kahlil Dukes and Matt Scott, the No. 1 scoring duo in Division I basketball, led the way as usual. Dukes scored a team-high 21 points, while Scott scored 14 and grabbed 13 rebounds.
Prochet stuffed the box score for Niagara, notching 10 points, eight rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks.
Niagara entered the final two minutes up four points. The Vikings cut the lead to one on two occasions, including a free throw make to put the score at 78-77. Greg King extended the lead to two with a shot from the charity stripe, and the Vikings failed on a pair of possessions to tie the game.
The Purple Eagles enter their non-conference finale against Cornell Saturday having won three of their last four games.
Niagara’s cross-town rival, Canisius, also fared well Tuesday. The Golden Griffins defeated Elon, 67-51, to end a three-game losing skid.
Jermaine Crumpton, playing in his 100th career game with Canisius, led the way with 16 points. Malik Johnson recorded 13 points, eight boards and four assists.
Senior center Selvedin Planincic had seven points, five rebounds and five assists in his first career start.
Canisius got out to a 36-26 lead in the first half thanks to strong shooting from the field and turnovers. The Griffs shot 48 percent and scored eight points off four turnovers in the first frame.
The Griffs extended the lead by outscoring Elon 31-25 in the second.
The Golden Griffins close out the non-conference slate Friday at Robert Morris.
Canisius women’s basketball was on the other end of a double-digit result, falling 63-42 to Texas Rio Grande Valley.
No Griff scored more than eight points, as Canisius was held to 36 percent shooting from the field and 16 percent from 3-point range.
ECC lineman earns honor
ECC left tackle Tarik Johnson was named an honorable mention All-American by the NJCAA Football Committee. The 6-foot-4 lineman was a first-team NJCAA All-American last season.
Story topics: Canisius men's basketball/ Canisius women's basketball/ Greg King/ Jermaine Crumpton/ Kahlil Dukes/ Malik Johnson/ Marvin Prochet/ Matt Scott/ Niagara men's basketball/ Selvedin Planincic/ Tarik Johnson