Canisius’ 87-80 loss to Iona on Sunday afternoon in New Rochelle set the stage for a wild and wooly final week of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference men’s basketball championship.
Iona (11-6) took over first place with the victory, which was led by a 30-point performance by senior Rickey McGill. The loss dropped Canisius into a four-way tie for second place with Quinnipiac, Rider and Siena, all at 10-6. The top four finishers in the standings will gain a first-round bye in the conference tournament, which opens March 7 at Times Union Center in Albany.
Iona has one game to play in conference, but it is at Rider on Friday night. An Iona win would clinch the championship and No. 1 seed in the MAAC Tournament.
An important game for Canisius could be a nationally televised game (ESPNU) on Friday night against Siena at the Koessler Center. It’s a 9 p.m. start, so the Griffs might know the outcome of the Rider-Iona contest before their game starts.
First, though, Canisius must get past Niagara on Wednesday night at the Koessler Center. The Griffs already have lost one to the Purple Eagles, 78-70, in Lewiston on Jan. 30.
Canisius led Iona, 73-70, with just over 5 mintues left to play, but Iona rattled off seven points in a row, the last three on free throws by McGill, who was fouled attempting a 3-point shot.
The Griffs closed to 81-80 on two free throws by Jibreel Faulkner with 1:49 left, but didn’t score again. Iona scored four of its last six points at the foul line with McGill finishing it off with two free throws with 0:02 remaining.
McGill made 5 of 10 3-point attempts and was 6 for 6 at the line, where Iona was 23 for 24. There were only 10 fouls called on Iona as opposed to 20 on Canisius. Despite McGill’s long-range shooting, Canisius matched Iona’s 10 3-pointers.
Takal Molson led Canisius with 21 points. He also had 10 rebounds. Jonathan Sanks had 16 points, Faulkner 13 and Malik Johnson 12 for Canisius.
NU loses to Saint Peter’s
Niagara (12-17, 5-11 MAAC) which lost to Saint Peter’s by two points at home in January, fell more easily to the Peacocks on Sunday, losing 78-60 at the Yanitelli Center in Jersey City, N.J.
Devaughnte Turner, who had 31 points against Niagara the last time, scored 28 Sunday to lead the victory. Niagara trailed 46-45 with 11:55 to play, but could not stay close to Saint Peter’s.
Dominick Robb scored 17 points and went over the 1,000-point mark for his career and his three blocked shots tied Joe Arlauckas as Niagara’s career leader with 220.
Canisius women win
The MAAC women’s basketball race is even more taut than the men’s. Canisius and Niagara are two of five teams tied for fourth place with 8-8 conference records entering the final week of the season.
Canisius evened its conference record with a 65-56 win over Monmouth on Sunday at the Koessler Athletic Center.
The Griffs shot 47.1 percent for the game and made 53.3 percent of their 3-point tries (8 of 15) in a victory that was led by a career-high 24 points by Sara Hinriksdottir, one four players honored on Senior Day.
Junior D’Jhai Patterson-Ricks had 16 points, matching her output in a 67-61 loss at Monmouth earlier in the season.
Niagara dropped to 8-8 with its 79-64 loss to second-place Rider at the Gallagher Center. Junior Jai Moore scored 30 points, nearly matching her career high of 31 set against Colgate. Lea Favre led Rider with 24 points.
Bona women lose
Mckenna Maycock (Randolph) led St. Bonaventure with 13 points in a 57-44 Atlantic 10 Conference loss to George Washington in Washington, D.C.
Bona (8-19, 5-9 A-10) went 1-for-15 from the floor in the first quarter and trailed 15-4 at the break. GW increased its lead to 24-9 in the second quarter and led 28-28 at halftime.
Hilbert win delayed
Hilbert College once enjoyed success in women’s basketball as a two-year school under Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame coach Sal Buscaglia. Since then, though, the Hawks mostly struggled until coach Amy Senefelder arrived last season.
Sunday, under unusual circumstances, Hilbert (22-5) defeated Penn State Behrend, 64-54, in the championship game of the Allegheny Mountain College Conference at La Roche College in Pittsburgh to earn a second straight automatic bid to the NCAA Division III tournament.
The unusual part is that it took 5 hours and 44 minutes to complete the game because of a city-wide power outage in Pittsburgh. The game started at noon but was not over until 5:44 p.m.
The outage came during the halftime break with Hilbert in front, 28-23. Play was not resumed with the start of the second half until around 5 p.m.
Emily Gawlak (Mount Mercy) and Katelyn Proy (Kenmore West), who made the All-Tournament team, led Hilbert. Gawlak, a junior, had 20 points and a team-high eight rebounds while Proy, a senior, had 17 points. Juniors Taylor Corts and Ashley Repine each had eight points for Hilbert.
The Hilbert team, which stayed overnight in Pittsburgh because of the high wind conditions in the region, will learn its first-round opponent and venue at 2:30 p.m. today when selections are announced.
The Hawks finished 15-3 in the AMCC, the same as La Roche. Hilbert was the No. 2 seed for the playoffs while LaRoche was No. 1 but was upset by Behrend, 57-56, in Saturday’s semifinals.