December 11, 1940 -- For many old-timers in Western New York, college basketball and Memorial Auditorium were almost inseparable. Eventually, teams headed to play in Madison Square Garden would stop in Buffalo to play local teams, often in memorable double-headers.
That era started right here. Canisius played its first-ever game in Memorial Auditorium, losing to Oregon, 50-42, before 2,500.
It was the opening night for that season, which saw the Golden Griffins go 10-9 under coach Allie Seelbach. The team played its last six games on the road, and won at Scranton in overtime to wrap up a winning record.
Robert Gauchat was the top player on that Griffins' team. A future Hall of Famer at the school, Gauchat led the team in scoring. Joe Niland was the captain; he went on to make the All-Century team.
Canisius played more than 600 games in Memorial Auditorium in the next 56 years, ending its run in 1996.
--- Budd Bailey