7:01: Tip off is just minutes away here at the Gallagher Center. It's a packed house and the fans and pumped for this one. Canisius comes in as the hotter team having one 2 of their last three games. Niagara has lost three of it's last four coming into tonight. The Purple Eagles lost on Saturday at Siena 82-65.
The Griffs come in with a 7-12 overall record. Canisius is 2-7 in MAAC play. Niagara is 14-6 overall and 5-3 in the MAAC.
7:09: A fast paced first four minutes. Niagara leads 10-7. The Eagles have all ten of their points inside the paint. Benson Egemonye leads them with 6 points. Tyrone Lewis also had an impressive put back dunk. Greg Logins leads Canisius with 5 points.
7:13: Niagara had pushed the lead to 16-7... Frank Turner with a layup and a foul to cut the lead back to 6 points.
7:17: Eight minutes into the first half. NU leads 21-13. Great sequence from Niagara's Egemonye. He got a great put back on the offensive end after several offensive rebounds. Then had a HUGE block on defense which started a NU fast break which Demetrius Williamson finished with a 3 pointer. Tomas Vazquez-Simmons answered from Canisius with a three to keep the Griffs within seven.
7:23: Niagara keeping up the defensive intensity. Egemonye takes a charge. Then 2 steals in the last three Griffs possessions. NU leads 27-17.
7:26: Frank Turner is keeping the Griffs in this game. Turner has 10 points to lead Canisius, including seven in the last four minutes. Niagara leads 27-22.
7:36: Niagara leads 35-26. Tyrone Lewis hits two 3 pointers to help extend the lead. Benson Egemonye did pick up 2 quick fouls and was taken out of the game. Three minutes to play in the half.
7:40: Julius Coles knocks down the three to get Canisius back within six points 37-31.
7:43: Demetrius Williamson knocks down the three. Niagara back up 40-31. Under a minute to play in the half.
7:46: Niagara leads 40-31 at the half. Funny moment in the final seconds, going after a loose ball Niagara's Tyrone Lewis leaped right over the Canisius bench, it was impressive.
7:49: Halftime Stats:
Bilal Benn and Benson Egemonye lead Niagara with 10 points each. Tyrone Lewis added eight points and four rebounds for the Purple Eagles.
Frank Turner leads Canisius with 12 points. Chris Gadley had six points and five rebounds as well. This is Gadley's first game back since December 30th.
Niagara shot 50 percent (16-32) from the field in the first half. That's impressive since Canisius leads the MAAC in field goal percentage defense holding their opponents to about 38 percent from the field.
Canisius shot 39 percent (11-28) from the field in the half. Niagara is also out rebounding the taller Griffs 18-15.
8:01: Second Half is underway!
8:04: Good start to the half for Niagara. Bilal Benn hits a layup, then Tyrone Lewis with a steal and gets to the line for two free throws after a hard foul by Vazquez-Simmons. NU leads 44-31.
8:07: Another Niagara steal, this time by Demetrius Williamson...Robert Goldsberry is called for the intentional foul. NU could turn this into a rout, they lead 45-33.
8:10: Big play from Frank Turner. Niagara was up by 13... Coles missed a short jumper but Turner, the shortest player on the floor got the offensive rebound and putback to cut the lead down to 11. NU leads 46-35 with just under 16 minutes to play.
8:16: Niagara is continuing to play solid defense. They lead the MAAC and are 5th in the nation forcing 10 steals a game. They only had 3 in the first half, but already have four in the second. NU leads 52-39.
8:20: Highlight of the night. Frank Turner misses a runner and out of nowhere Elton Frazier flies in for the follow slam. It was amazing. Canisius won't go away, they are back within 9 54-45.
If the Griffs want to get back in this game however then need someone other than Turner to score more consistently. Turner leads Canisius with 16 points, no one else has more than 6.
8:25: Griffs keep climbing back, it's 54-48...Canisius on a 9-2 run.
8:30: Niagara leads 59-53. Canisius had cut the lead down to 3 and had a chance to get closer but threw the ball away. You wonder if the Eagles will get tight late in the game, having lost three of there last four games. They are only shooting 33 percent in the 2nd half.
8:33: Perhaps the stat of the 2nd half. After getting out rebounded in the first half 18-15... Canisius now leads the battle of the boards 33-23. That's and 18-8 advantage in the 2nd half for the Griffs. It's 59-56 NU on top with 7:42 left to play.
8:37: Canisius can't get over the hump, 2 more turnovers... that's 17 for the game against only 6 for Niagara. NU leads 61-58.
8:39: 3 point play from Elton Frazier and we are tied at 61! For about the last 10 minutes the Griffs are playing at a different speed than Niagara. The Eagles look very sluggish.
8:43: Canisius took the lead 63-61... but back-to-back turnovers by the Griffs have the Eagles back in front 67-63.
8:44: 3:58 left to play. NU leads 67-63. Did Canisius spend to much energy to get back into the game? This young Griffs squad is just learning how to finish games, something Niagara has done well all season. Nice burst by Niagara to get back on top when it looked like the Griffs had all the momentum.
8:49: Griffs come up with a mad scramble for a loose ball, Julius Coles shaken up in the process. He is taken out of the game. He has been huge for Canisius in the second half with 12 of his 15 points. NU leads 67-65.
8:51: Egemonye with the basket and the foul to put the Eagles up 70-65. Greg Logins fouls out for Canisius. 2:09 left to play. Egemonye with 22 points on the night.
8:54: Coles with the layup for Canisius. 70-67 NU with 1:24 to play.
8:56: Egemonye strikes again, with the shot clock winding down he hits the layup to put the Eagles up 72-67 with 49 seconds to play.
8:58: Canisius misses two jumpers and then turned the ball over. NU up five with 38 seconds to play.
9:01: Not over yet. Lewis misses two free throws for NU at one end. Turner gets fouled and hits two free throws for Canisius. 72-69 NU leads with 30 seconds to play.
9:06: It's Over. Niagara holds on for the 75-69 win. Great game!
Canisius gave Niagara all it wanted in the second half and had them on the ropes. The Purple Eagles made it count down the stretch forcing several turnovers and hitting just enough free throws to seal the win.
Frank Turner leads the Griffs with 22 points and seven assists. Coles added 17 (14 in the second half) and Frazier had 10 points.
For Niagara Egemonye lead the way with a game high 24 points and six rebounds. Bilal Benn added 14 points and Tyrone Lewis had 12. NU point guard Anthony Nelson finished with 11 points, seven assists and no turnovers.
Turnovers were a big key for the Niagara win. Canisius gave up the ball 20 times to just eight for the eagles. Niagara scored 23 points off Canisius turnovers.
That's all from the Gallagher Center. Niagara holds off Canisius 75-69.