Niagara continues to be the most puzzling team in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference men’s basketball.
Coach Chris Casey’s Purple Eagles, who posted five of their six MAAC wins over the top six finishers in the standings, dropped into a three-way tie for last place at 6-12 on Sunday with a 72-65 overtime loss to Siena in the last regular season game on Sunday before 1,378 at the Gallagher Center.
Niagara went 1-6 against the rest of the MAAC’s second division – Marist, Manhattan, Fairfield and Saint Peter’s – with the lone win a five-point win over Fairfield in Lewiston.
Marvin Prochet, who led Niagara with 21 points, hit a 3-pointer with 16 seconds left in regulation to send the game to OT tied at 56.
Siena scored the first five points of the overtime, a layup by Evan Fisher and a 3-pointer by Kevin Degnan, and Niagara never caught up.
Niagara’s largest lead was eight points, 22-14, in the first half. The Purple Eagles led, 27-24, at the half. Siena’s biggest lead was nine in the overtime.
Prochet also had 10 rebounds. Chris Barton had 16 points for NU while Greg King had 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Jalen Pickett led Siena with 27 points, Fisher had 15 and Degnan 12.
Niagara, seeded last at No. 11, will face No. 6 Monmouth, at 9 p.m. on Thursday in Albany in the first round of the conference tournament in Albany.
Canisius’ first game will be on Friday at 9:30 p.m. against the winner of Thursday’s Manhattan-Fairfield game. The Griffs, who finished in a four-way tie for second place in the final MAAC standings, are seeded No. 2 behind Iona.
NU women play Thursday
Niagara as the No. 8 seed will face No. 9 Fairfield in the opening game of the Metro Atlantic Women’s Championship at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday at the Times Union Center in Albany.
The Niagara-Fairfield winner will face regular season MAAC champion Quinnipiac at 1 p.m. on Friday in the quarterfinals. The No. 1 seed for the fifth straight year, Quinnipiac finished the MAAC regular season at 18-0, its second straight undefeated campaign. The Bobcats have won 49 straight games against MAAC opponents, with their last loss in the 2016-17 season.
Canisius will be one of the last women’s teams to take the floor in Albany. The Golden Griffins, seeded No. 5, will face No. 4 Monmouth at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Bona women to play at Davidson in first round
St. Bonaventure, the No. 12 seed, will travel to No. 5 Davidson on Tuesday night for its first round game in the Atlantic 10 Conference women’s basketball championship.
The Bonnies (8-21, 5-11 A-10) who finished the season with seven losses in eight games, lost at Davidson (16-13, 10-6 A-10), 67-55, in their regular season meeting on Feb. 9.
The Bona-Davidson game will be one of six games at campus sites on Tuesday. The six winners will be joined with No. 1 seed VCU and No. 2 Fordham in the quarterfinals on March 8 at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh.
ECC men win regional
Erie Community College moved on with a with a 100-73 triumph over Niagara County CC in the Division II championship game of the NJCAA Region III playoffs on Sunday at the Flickinger Athletics Center. The Kats will host the County College of Morris (N.J.) as the No. 1 seed in the District II playoffs at 1 p.m. on Saturday. NCCC will face Sullivan County CC at 3 p.m. in the other semifinal. The district final will be Sunday.
The Kats led, 42-23, at halftime then hit the century mark with a 58-point second half as 13 different ECC athletes played and scored in the rout.
Ahamadou Fofana, a 6-foot-2 freshman from the Bronx, was the ECC high scorer with 18 points. Kasey Walker-Gregg, a 6-1 sophomore from Bronx, had 16, Michael Motley, a 6-3 sophomore from St. Joe’s, had 13 and Jonathan McDonald, a 6-9 sophomore from Brooklyn, 11. Motley also had 11 rebounds. Nigel Scantlebury led NCCC with 15 points.
Walker-Gregg was tournament MVP. Motley, Fofana and Tavien Kemp of ECC made the all-tournament team.
NCCC women go 31-0, headed for NJCAA nationals
Niagara CCC earned a berth in the NJCAA Women’s Division II national tournament with a 78-68 victory over Monroe CC on Sunday in Sanborn to win its first the Region III championship.
NCCC is 31-0 on the season.
Fenetria Redfern (Cheektowaga) led NCCC with 30 points, 11 rebounds and three blocked shots. Shilah Parker (Cardinal O’Hara) had 15 points, nine rebounds and seven assists.
Coach Nate Beutel’s team will start play in the nationals on March 19 in Harrison, Ark.
Daemen men clinch conference title
Daemen's men's basketball team closed the regular season by erupting for 52 second-half points en route to a 93-71 victory over visiting University of Bridgeport before a near capacity crowd at Lumsden Gymnasium on Sunday. With the win, Daemen (24-4, 16-2 ECC) clinched the East Coast Conference regular season championship and the No. 1 seed in the upcoming ECC Championship tournament.
Andrew Sischo scored 20 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead the way. His total included the 1,000th point of his career. Sischo entered the game needing just three points to reach the milestone, and he did so on a layup at the 11:16 mark of the first half.
Daemen's 24 wins are the most in a season since going 27-6 during the 2012-13 campaign, a year before the Wildcats began play in the ECC.