Losers of three straight, Canisius had to find the motivation that led them to the best record in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference last season.
Canisius (6-11, 3-2 MAAC) found the motivation it needed against Quinnipiac (8-8, 3-2 MAAC), which upset Canisius last season in the MAAC Tournament quarterfinals.
This time the results were different as Takal Molson’s leaning layup with five seconds to go gave the Griffs a 65-63 victory.
Quinnipiac found itself with the lead with under a minute remaining but would remain scoreless as Canisius’ top guards put the game into their own hands.
Isaiah Reese, who became the 38th Canisius player to score 1,000 points, decided to not pass the ball this time.
Reese’s shot wasn’t falling but found his teammates instead, finishing with nine assists. But he made the shots when it mattered most and made a layup to tie.
Quinnipiac called its full time out to set their offense but Rich Kelly turned it over for the Bobcats 15th turnover of the night.
Molson took the game into his hands and scored his team-leading 18th point. Quinnipiac had one last opportunity but the three-point shot did not fall at the buzzer.
Niagara found itself down 31-18 with two minutes left in the first half before a 6-0 run would close the gap for only a 31-24 halftime deficit. The Purple Eagles could not keep the hot shooting going, falling to the Saints, 66-57, and are now 8-10 overall and 1-4 in the MAAC.
Siena led from the 9:17 mark of the first half to the end.
The Purple Eagles were in rhythm to start building up their largest lead of 12-2 less than five minutes in.
Niagara could not keep the hot shooting going and quickly relinquished control of the game. The Purple Eagles only shot 4-of-22 from deep and had just six assists. Two of their 57 points came from the bench.
James Towns led all scorers with 21 while Marvin Prochet added 15 points and a team high seven rebounds.
Buffalo State time changes
Due to the impending winter storm affecting the area this weekend, Buffalo State has moved up the times of its men’s and women’s basketball games to assist the road teams in travelling home.
Friday, the women’s team will play at 4 p.m. and the men at 6 p.m. against Oneonta.
Saturday, the women’s team will play at 12 p.m. with the men scheduled to start at 2 p.m. against New Paltz.
WNY takes on Connecticut teams
Two Connecticut teams, Fairfield and Quinnipiac, will travel to Western New York this weekend to each play Canisius and Niagara.
The Golden Griffins and Purple Eagles are off to hot starts in the MAAC this season. Each team currently sits at 3-1 and is tied for fourth in the conference. Niagara’s 3-1 start is its best since the 2014-15 season while Canisius has won four of its last five games.
The Griffins will play an 0-4 Fairfield team Friday night at 7 p.m. before the Purple Eagles gets their chance to host them Sunday at 2 p.m.
Niagara will get the tougher matchup on Friday against 4-0 Quinnipiac at 11 a.m. The Bobcats have never lost to Niagara with the all-time series sitting at 11-0.
Quinnipiac will then travel the 30 minutes south to play Canisius at 2 p.m. on Sunday.
Canisius hoping to rebound
Canisius and Niagara will each play two home games this weekend as they continue to work through the bulk of their Atlantic Hockey Association schedules.
Canisius was swept by Mercyhurst last weekend and hopes to get back on track against an 8-13-1 Robert Morris team. The Griffins will begin the series at 7:35 p.m. tonight and play again less than 24 hours later at 4:35 p.m. on Saturday.
Niagara, which has not won a conference game since Nov. 23 against Army, will play Mercyhurst at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
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