Narrow margins of victory were the order of the day for not only the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.
Niagara scored a last-second victory over Cornell at the Gallagher Center and Canisius went on the road for a one-point win over Elon in Big 4 men's basketball games Sunday afternoon.
Sophomore guard Keleaf Tate hit a desperation 3-pointer after an offensive rebounds tap-out with 1.1 seconds remaining to give Niagara (5-4) its 77-74 victory over Cornell (4-5).
Five Canisius players scored in double-figures, led by sophomore Takal Molson's 20 points in a 91-92 win at Elon in North Carolina. Canisius is 3-6 with a game at Holy Cross next on Thursday. Elon is 3-8.
In the Niagara win, Dominic Robb rebounded an air ball on the Purple Eagles' final possession and was able to kick it out to Tate, who quickly released the shot to give the his team the lead. Cornell had time for an inbounds play but Matt Morgan's halfcourt heave that fell short. It was the fourth consecutive game decided by four points or less for Niagara, which won the last three.
Niagara's Marvin Prochet finished with a double-double (24 points, 10 rebounds) and Robb had 12 points and nine rebounds), but it was Tate, who entered the game averaging 9.0 points per game, whose 23 points were the difference. Prochet needed 20 points to become the 47th player in Niagara men's basketball history with 1,000 or more career points.
“Sometimes you play really well and sometimes you won’t play as well, but you always have to be determined to win, and find a way to win the game. And we did that today,” Niagara coach Chris Casey said.
It was Niagara’s third win in a row.
“We talk about going on streaks during the year and trying to piece wins together one after another after another,” Casey said. “We’re in the midst of a little one right now and we have more work to do next week to continue that streak.”
For Canisius, Molson scored 14 of his 20 points in the second half, as the Golden Griffins shot 51.6 percent from the field and 43.8 percent from 3-point land in scoring 54 points in the second half. Elon led, 44-38 at the half.
"I told the guys after the game, games are never easy, but they become easier if you play for your teammates," Canisius coach Reggie Witherspoon said. "A sign of that is 18 assists and just nine turnovers, and we only had three turnovers in the second half."
Senior Jibreel Faulkner scored a career-high 16 points to go with a career-best eight rebounds in the victory, and sophomore Scott Hitchon was also good for 16 points, a career high. Junior Malik Johnson added 12 points and freshman Jordan Henderson chipped in 10 points.
Elon also had five players score in double-figures, led by Steven Santa Ana’s 25 points.
The Phoenix, who entered the game ranked 12th nationally in 3-point field goal makes per game, drilled 15, but Canisius used a 32-16 advantage in points scored in the paint to earn their second road win of the season.
UB wrestlers lose at Mizzou
The University at Buffalo wrestling team won its first two matches against sixth-ranked Missouri, but eventually lost to the Tigers, 30-8, at the Hearnes Center in Columbia, Mo., on Sunday afternoon. The loss snapped the Bulls' two-match win streak.
Kyle Akins got the Bulls off with a second-period pin of Cameron Valdiviez at 125 pounds for a 6-0 UB lead.
Derek Spann followed with a 6-2 decision over Allan Hart at 133, scoring two reversals Spann, sophomore, improved to a perfect 7-0 on the season.
Missouri won the remaining matches including two in overtime and another on riding time.
"We battled the sixth-ranked in the country and had them on the ropes," coach John Stutzman said. "I'm proud of these guys. We competed hard and that's all you can ask for."
Niagara women play at Syracuse
Niagara's women's basketball team (3-6) will play 15th ranked Syracuse (8-2) at 11 a.m. today in the Carrier Dome.
The Syracuse women are averaging 81 points per game. Guard Tiana Mangakahia leads the Orange in scoring (15.7), rebouinding (5.1), assists (6.9) and steals (2.3).