March 13, 2007 -- The NCAA basketball tournament is no time to get picky when it comes to celebrate a win. So there was plenty of joy on this date when Niagara won its first game in the Big Dance since 1970, even if it was in the so-called "play-in" game.
Niagara defeated Florida A&M, 77-69, in Dayton, Ohio, in the tournament opener. Calvin Murphy was in uniform for the Purple Eagles the last time they won in the NCAAs.
The hero on this night was Clif Brown. He scored 24 of his 32 points in the final 18 minutes to lead Niagara. Brown was 10 of 18 from the field and 6 of 11 from three-point range. He also added seven rebounds.
The Eagles won their 12th straight game, their longest win streak in 35 years, and earned a date with top-seeded Kansas in Chicago.
"We're obviously very proud of what we did today," Niagara coach Joe Mihalich told The News' Mike Harrington. "It's an NCAA Tournament win. There's no asterisk as far as I'm concerned."
--- Budd Bailey