Canisius 87, Niagara 74
How Canisius Won: Depth. Precision offense. And by building a big lead and making it hold up for a change. Niagara's chances were basicallly shot when point guard Tajhere McCall was held out after suffering a severe tongue laceration in practice Tuesday. That meant freshman guards Wesley Myers played seconds shy of 40 minutes, while guards Antoine Mason and Marvin Jordan did play all 40 minutes. That's a grind in a rivalry game on the road, especially when Canisius players are filling their roles as well as they did in this one. Very solid game for the Griffs, who held Niagara at bay after seeing double-digit leads evaporate the last two times out.
Player of the Game: As I've said before, Billy Baron would dominate this category for the Griffs (and Mason for Niagara). Outside of those two, it's hard not to love what Chris Manhertz brought in this one. He had 14 points and 11 boards in 30 minutes, was perfect on eight free throws and tied his career high with four assists. But get this: Zero fouls. Manhertz managed that once before in his career, against Niagara, in a game in which he played just three minutes.
Best Supporting Roles: Have to go with Chris Perez (17 points) on the Canisius end and Marvin Jordan (19) on the Niagara side. Jordan went 4 of 10 from three and ended his career averaging better than 20 points in games at the KAC.
Elite Matchup: Baron had it going early for Canisius while Mason seemed to bide his time before exploding late. But what's with that 3-for-7 performance at the foul line? But from the field: Mason was 11 of 19, Baron 10 of 17. Quality stuff.
Security Check: Given the rivalry stakes and the oft-times frenetic tempo the turnover numbers astounded. Niagara committed nine, Canisius a season-low five.
What It Means: Canisius (13-7, 7-2) moved into sole possession of first in the MAAC by a half-game and owns back-to-back victories over Niagara for the first time since 2000-01. The Purple Eagles (5-15, 2-7) have lost six of their last seven.
In the House: The game sold out Monday (2,196) and tickets were going $10 over face value outside the doors.
Home Cooking: Canisus remained unbeaten at home, where it's averaging better than 85 points a game.
What's Next: Marist. The Red Foxes visit Niagara Friday night and Canisius Sunday afternoon. McCall is listed as day-to-day for Niagara.