Siena clinched at least a tie for the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference regular season men’s basketball championship Wednesday night with a 77-55 rout of Niagara at the Times Union Center in Albany.
The Saints, 18-10 overall with a 14-5 MAAC record, own a one-game lead over Saint Peter’s (13-6) in the conference.
Niagara went into the game tied for fifth place with defending champion Iona in the MAAC standings and owning a tiebreaker because of a sweep of its season series with the Gaels. Iona also lost its game Wednesday night, falling at home to Quinnipiac, 69-68. However with the win, Quinnipiac (10-10) moved in front of both teams. If Niagara wins its final game at Canisius on Friday it could tie Quinnipiac. The teams split their regular season games. Niagara’s victory over first-place Siena could give the Purple Eagles the advantage over Quinnipiac if the teams end up tied.
Siena led 36-34 at halftime in Wednesday’s game, then came roaring out of the break while Niagara went stone cold offensively. The Saints, who are unbeaten at home this season, outscored Niagara, 25-4, over the first 7 minutes and 28 seconds of the second half to put the game away.
After shooting 41.4% in the first half, Niagara made only 9 of 35 (25.7) in the second while the Saints hit at a 59.3 clip (16 of 26).
Elijah Burns, a transfer from Notre Dame, led Siena with 24 points on 9 for 14 shooting, many of them layups and dunks. He also had 10 rebounds. Donald Carey had 12 points for the Saints, all coming on 3-pointers. Sophomore star Jalen Pickett had 10 points and 12 assists. Manny Camper had 14 rebounds to lead Siena’s 40-31 advantage on the
Justin Roberts, a junior transfer, had 15 points for Niagara. Roberts made three of the Purple Eagles’ five 3-pointers.
Marcus Hammond, who was MAAC Player of the Week after he averaged 24 points in victories over Saint Peter’s and Iona last week, was held to two points.
Canisius finished its conference road schedule in fine fashion, routing Marist, 85-69, at the McCann Center behind another standout performance by junior college transfer Majesty Brandon.
Brandon scored 23 points and senior standout Malik Johnson had 16 points including a pair of traditional three-point plays on layups in the second half for the Griffs, who moved out of the MAAC cellar for now with a 6-13 conference record. Marist finished its MAAC regular season at 6-14.
A 16-3 run in the first half gave Canisius a working margin and the Golden Griffins were up 43-32 at the half. The Griffs scored the first six points of the second half and were off and running. They led by as many as 23 points, 82-59, with 3:06 to
Freshman Jacco Fritz had 10 points and a team-high eight rebounds.
Marist had five scorers in double-digits, led by Jordan Jones’ 19 points.
UB women win at Akron
The University at Buffalo women lost to Akron two weeks ago at Alumni Arena in the final setback in a rare five-game losing streak.
Wednesday night, the Bulls avenged that loss, rolling past the Zips, 76-71, at Rhodes Arena behind the play of freshman Dyaisha Fair and senior Theresa Onwuka.
Akron led, 34-33 at the half, but the Bulls took charge with a 14-2 run to start the second half. Fair had 26 points and Onwuka had 16 for the game, but Adebola Adeyeye and Hannah Hall had as much to do with the rally as anybody. They scored the first eight points of the half between them. Hall had all nine of her points in that stretch.
Akron star Haliegh Reinoehl scored 24 points with 13 rebounds in the win over UB at Alumni Arena. She was kept under control this time. Reinoehl finished with 16 points and six rebounds.
It was the fourth straight win for UB, which is 8-9 in Mid-American Conference play and trails Kent State (11-6) and Ohio (10-7) in the East Division standings of the MAC. Unless they gain a top four seed for the MAC tournament the Bulls will be home for a first-round game in the tournament next Monday night.