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This Day in Buffalo Sports History: Party-poopers

   February 25, 1961 -- It was all so perfect. St. Bonaventure had won its previous 99 home games in a row, and the Bonnies were ready to celebrate hitting the century mark. Even a Sports Illustrated reporter made his way to the Olean Armory for the party, joining the 2,200 in attendance.

   However, Niagara turned out to be a party-pooper. The Purple Eagles enjoyed beating their Little Three rival by a score of 87-77.

   It was only the second loss of the season for the Bonnies, who had been ranked in the top five of the national rankings for most of the season. They were coached by Eddie Donovan and led by All-American Tom Stith, Fred Crawford and Whitey Martin.

   Niagara came into the game at 14-4, so the Eagles were obviously no pushover. Al Butler was the team's biggest star. Niagara coach Taps Gallagher was carried off the court by his happy players after the game, and he said it was the best win in a long career.

   Gallagher stayed 31 seasons at Niagara, and he had 26 winning seasons featuring seven trips to the National Invitation Tournament.

--- Budd Bailey


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About Sports, Ink

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey has served in a variety of roles in Buffalo sports in the past 35 years, including reporter, talk-show host, baseball announcer, public relations staffer and author. He covers the Bandits and running for The News when not working as an editor.