Niagara 66, Canisius 54
How Niagara Won: What's this? A Niagara team intent on penetrating the lane? Both Rob Garrison and Anthony Nelson became the attack guards coach Joe Mihalich was seeking as the Purple Eagles reversed the outcome of last week's 73-70 overtime loss at Canisius. As a result, shot totals were much better balanced than last week, when Tyrone Lewis and Bilal combined combined to launch 43 of Niagara's 75 field-goal attempts. Niagara put up only 56 shots this time around, and what does that mean? In part that they worked some offense instead of letting fly at first sight of iron.
Turning Point: Griffs committed eight of their 21 turnovers while going from up, 45-44, with 12:19 left to down, 59-48, with 3:51 remaining. Mihalich thought big play was Kashief Edwards kicking it out from the low post to Austin Cooley, who drained an open three for a 52-47 advantage with 8:11 left. It certainly did speak to Niagara's determination to keep the Griffs honoest by getting the ball inside.
Player of the Game: Garrison hadn't scored in double figures in his first three games of this rivalry. He boostered Niagara's fragile confidence by scoring 15 of his game-high 18 in the first half. He also had five asssists, two steals and a pair of blocks on the night.
Stat of the Game: A week after producing 20 points, 10 boards and no turnovers in the win over Niagara, Canisius forward Elton Frazier went 8-7-5.
Milestone: Canisius point guard Frank Turner became the school's all-time assist leader. His eight pushed his career total to 358, seven more than Bam Moore.
They Said It:
Canisius Coach Tom Parrotta on Garrison: "He clearly provided the separation in the first half because he had 15 points. You don't want a guy having 15 points in any half."
Niagara Coach Joe Mihalich: "You guys keep saying we got to get the ball inside more. We finally listened to you guys. . . . We were trying to score around the basket a little bit more. We took 27 threes . . . but I thought the balance was better. We didn't shoot as many (as the 38 last week), we got to the basket.
Niagara guard Anthony Nelson: "It February. It's our month."
In the House: There were more on hand than the sellout crowd of 2,400, and they were loud. Super college basketball atmosphere.
Next Up: Two of the MAAC's three 6-7 teams match up when Niagara plays at Rider on Monday night. The other, Canisius, is at Iona.
-- Bob DiCesare
taggedBig 4 | Canisius | College basketball | Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference | Niagara