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Big 4

Niagara women win by one, Canisius falls

Niagara women’s basketball used a 21-7 second quarter to propel itself to a win over Monmouth, 62-61 on Thursday night.

The Purple Eagles bounced back from their loss to Quinnipiac last Saturday and moved to 9-16 overall and 7-9 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.

The final five minutes of the second quarter might have been the best they’ve played all season.

The Purple Eagles outscored Monmouth 17-2 over the final 4:28 of the period, sparked by Maggie McIntyre’s back-to-back-to-back three pointers to give Niagara a five-point lead with 2:46 left in the half, 30-25.

The run was all from bench scoring. After McIntyre made her threes, Angel Parker made a layup with 2:24 left, then Valentina Pepic rattled off three straight baskets for another six points over the final two minutes.

The half would end with Niagara up 38-27.

Despite the lead, it would tighten down the stretch and lead to heroics by Jai Moore.

Monmouth’s Alexa Middleton made a layup with one minute to go, giving the Hawks a one-point advantage.

Neither team scored on their next possession, giving Niagara a chance to tie with 22 seconds left. Moore knocked down a jumper to tie but was fouled, leading to a three-point play, and the eventual final score.

Canisius fell, 63-56, to Manhattan at home. The Golden Griffins were only down three heading into the fourth but a five-minute stretch without a basket put the game out of reach.

D’Jhai Patterson-Ricks and AJ Timbers led Canisius in scoring with 14 and 16 points, respectively. Danielle Sanderlin added 11 rebounds.

Three Big 4 men’s teams will play tonight. Niagara, Canisius and UB are all on the road and all tip-off at 7 p.m.

The Purple Eagles, winners of two straight, are looking for their third at Fairfield University’s Alumni Hall.

Niagara began the streak topping Canisius 69-66 then beat Monmouth 77-72. The Purple Eagles are hoping to sweep the Stags after beating them 75-66 on Jan. 3.

Niagara’s Marcus Hammond is the reigning MAAC Player of the Week.

Canisius will play a nationally televised game at Quinnipiac (ESPNU). The Golden Griffins have lost their past three games and a home matchup with Quinnipiac on Jan. 31.

The Bobcats began MAAC play with four consecutive wins, since then they have gone 2-8.

Still, Quinnipiac is a dangerous team from the three-point line, ranking eighth nationally with 10 made per game. They attempt over half of their shots from beyond the arc.

UB plays Kent State for the second time this season. That game will also be nationally televised on ESPN2. The Golden Flashes defeated the Bulls, 70-66, the last time out.

UB is on a three-game win streak that has propelled them into the top four of the Mid-American Conference standings.

Kent State has lost three of its last four, scoring 54 or fewer points in each loss. But the Golden Flashes have maintained an 11-2 record at home.

St. Bonaventure hosts Richmond Saturday at 6:30 p.m.

Niagara grabs center
Niagara men’s basketball grabbed a verbal commitment from Touba Traore, a 6-foot-11 center from Massanutten Military Academy in Virginia.

A native of Mali, Traore came to the United States in January 2017 without knowing any English. Playing for Massanutten’s postgraduate basketball team, Traore had received looks from James Madison University, George Mason University and Hampton University.

Traore will add to much-needed height to Niagara next season. Freshman 6-foot-11 forward Noah Waterman has missed 18 straight games with an ankle injury, leaving the 6-foot-9 Nicholas Kratholm as the only player above 6-foot-6 to play in a game this season.

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