Kahlil Dukes scored 26 points while five Niagara players reached double-digits as the Purple Eagles crushed Marist Friday night, 100-76.
The win moved Niagara to 19-12 overall and 12-6 in the MAAC as it concluded the regular season with a first-round bye in the conference tournament already locked up.
Niagara’s win was actually bad news for Canisius given the way MAAC’s tiebreakers work. The Griffs (14-3) are tied in first with Rider, but if they finish with the same record, their results against Niagara could come into play.
And here’s the kicker: Canisius’ own result Sunday against Marist is now irrelevant to winning the conference. If Rider beats Iona (11-6) on Sunday, it will earn the MAAC’s NIT autobid; if Rider loses, Canisius wins the conference, even if it loses Sunday to Marist.
Canisius would’ve preferred a Niagara loss, to increase the chance it gets tied or passed by Iona. That would benefit Canisius in a tiebreaker with Rider.
Instead, Niagara showed it can certainly light up the scoreboard even without 19.5-point-per-game star Matt Scott, who missed his third straight game with an ankle sprain and may not return for the conference tournament.
Niagara trailed 41-29 with 4:25 in the first half but ended the period on a 17-2 run and never looked back, blitzing the Red Foxes in the second half, 54-33.
James Towns and Greg Kuakumensah scored 15 points, Marvin Prochet had 14 and Dom Robb added 10 while Lockport’s Sam Volmy scored his first Division I points on late free throws.
Niagara will play Saturday, March 3 in Albany as either the third or fourth seed. Canisius will play next Friday as the first or second seed.
— Nick Veronica (@NickVeronica) February 24, 2018
Elsewhere in men’s basketball, Daemen used 23 points from Andrew Sischo to beat LIU Post, 61-58, and stay alive for second place in the conference. The Wildcats (20-7, 14-3 ECC) close the regular season Sunday at NYIT.
Saturday’s men’s games
UB (20-8, 12-3 MAC) vs. Ohio (12-15, 5-10), 3:30 p.m.: UB looks to move closer to clinching the MAC’s No. 1 seed for the first time with a matinee against Ohio. Toledo (12-4) won Friday to stay on the Bulls’ heels, but UB controls its own destiny with three games remaining. The Bulls have shots 50 percent or better in seven straight games, their longest streak since returning to Division I in 1992-92.
St. Bonaventure (21-6, 11-4 A-10) at VCU (16-12, 8-7), 8 p.m.: The Bonnies travel to VCU riding a nine-game win streak that has lifted them into a tie for second in the conference with three games remaining. The Bonnies need to not look ahead to Tuesday’s showdown with Davidson (also 11-4) and take care of business at a tough road opponent.
AMCC: Medaille and Hilbert play in the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference semifinals at La Roche College in Pittsburgh. Fifth-seeded Hilbert faces 1-La Roche at 1 p.m., followed by 3-Medaille vs. 2-Penn State Behrend.
Sara Hinriksdottir scored a game-high 20 points but Canisius ended the regular season with a 68-59 loss at Siena. The Griffs (10-19, 8-10), are guaranteed to be in the play-in round at the MAAC Tournament on Thursday; seeding will be finalized later this week.
SUNYAC: Liv LeBaron’s career-high 37 points weren’t enough to lift Buffalo State over Oneonta in the SUNYAC semifinals Friday as the Bengals’ season ended in a 77-66 loss. LeBaron (Corning) connected 17 of her 27 field goals, finishing two points shy of the school record set by Mary Delsignore in 1992. Buff State finished 13-14 overall, posting its most wins since 2013-14.
Saturday’s women’s games
UB (22-4, 13-2 MAC) vs. Ohio (15-11, 9-6), 1 p.m.: UB hosts Ohio in the first game of a doubleheader with the men’s team, looking to lock up at least the No. 2 seed. UB needs help to catch Central Michigan (14-1), but does own the tiebreaker on the Chippewas.
Niagara (11-17, 8-9 MAAC) at Marist (18-11, 14-3), 7 p.m.: Niagara ends the regular season against a strong Marist team that has clinched second place. NU’s Victoria Rampado (20.9 ppg) leads Marist’s Rebekah Hand (16.3) in the conference scoring race.
St. Bonaventure (8-20, 3-12 A-10) vs. Duquesne (22-6, 12-3), 2 p.m.: The Bonnies wrap up the regular season against A-10 power Duquesne, which has won 12 of its last 15 games.
AMCC: Hilbert hosts the AMCC playoffs as the No. 1 Hawks face 5-Penn State Behrend at 1 p.m. Saturday, followed by 2-Mt. Aloysius vs. 3-Pitt-Bradford. The winners play at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Saturday’s hockey games
Atlantic Hockey: Niagara hosts Canisius at 7 p.m. in the regular-season finale for both teams, following Canisius' 2-1 win Friday night at HarborCenter. Canisius is still alive for the top seed, but needs RIT to beat Mercyhurst.
SUNYAC: Buff State visits No. 2 Geneseo in the SUNYAC semifinals while Fredonia visits No. 1 Oswego, with both games starting at 7 p.m. The championship is Saturday, March 3.
Track and field
UB’s Jack Jibb, Chimaobi Ezeilo, Patrick Hazlitt and Dan Muldoon took second place in the distance medley relay at the first day of the MAC indoor track and field championships, finishing in 10:11.25. Jess Dhaliwall took third in weight throw with a toss of 66 feet, 1.75 inches. The UB men sit fifth after Day 1 and the women are in sixth.
UB’s Megan Burns took second in the 200-meter freestyle at the MAC championships, finishing in 1:47.19. UB stands in third place with 353 points, trailing Akron (539) and Eastern Michigan (363.5) with one day remaining.