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Colleges: Canisius men open MAAC Tournament slate, UB playing for outright MAC title

Canisius men’s basketball kicks off Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament play tonight in Albany when it faces seventh-seeded Quinnipiac in the quarterfinals at 9:30 p.m. Friday.

Quinnipiac is coming off a quick turnaround after defeating Siena, 67-58, in a first-round matchup Thursday night.

Canisius earned a bye to the quarterfinal round by finishing in a tie with Rider for a share of the MAAC regular season crown. Rider owned the tiebreaker, making the Griffs the second seed in the

Canisius defeated Quinnipiac in both matchups this season — 82-74 on the road on Jan. 5 and 71-64 at home on Feb. 10.

The Golden Griffins haven’t advanced to the MAAC semifinals since 2014. Canisius is 1-1 in the MAAC Tournament under head coach Reggie Witherspoon. The Griffs defeated Marist in the first round last year but fell to Saint Peter’s in the quarterfinals.

If Canisius and Niagara avoid upsets, they’ll face each other in the conference semifinals on Sunday at 9:30 p.m.

The game can be viewed online on ESPN3 and heard on the radio on 1230 AM and 102.9 FM.

University at Buffalo (22-8, 14-3) at Bowling Green (16-14, 7-10): The Bulls conclude their regular season on the road with the first seed in the conference tournament already locked up. UB is still playing for an outright MAC regular season title, as Toledo can tie with a Bulls loss and a win against Eastern Michigan Friday.

The game, which tips off at 6 p.m., will be aired on ESPNU. It’s the seventh time the Bulls have been on national television and their third time on ESPNU.

The Falcons current four-game losing streak began with a 95-82 defeat at the hands of the Bulls on Feb. 16. UB has won two straight, setting a new program high for MAC victories in a season on Tuesday against Akron.

UB has scored 80 or more points 23 times this season, the most of any team in Division I basketball.

Men’s hockey

Niagara (11-20-3) at American International (12-18-4): The Purple Eagles open up the first round of the Atlantic Hockey Tournament in Springfield, Mass. when they face AIC in the first game of a three-game series Friday afternoon.

The teams will play three games in three days, if necessary, at AIC’s home rink, the MassMutual Center.

Niagara, the ninth seed, and AIC, the eighth seed, split their regular season series in November. The Purple Eagles won the first matchup, 3-1, but fell to the Yellow Jackets a day later, 4-1. Niagara swept AIC when the teams last met in the playoffs in 2014.

Last year, the Purple Eagles defeated RIT in three games in the first round but fell to Canisius in two games in the quarterfinals. The Golden Griffins earned a bye to the quarterfinals this season, meaning they’ll be off until March 9.

Keegan Harper is the Purple Eagles’ most experienced postseason scorer. He’s notched two goals and four assists in nine playoff games.

Faceoff is set for 1:05 p.m. for all three possible games in the series.

Men’s lacrosse

Canisius men’s lacrosse’s home opener against Cleveland State was rescheduled due to inclement weather. The game, which was originally slated for Saturday, was moved to Sunday at noon.

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