Buffalo, NY (Sports Network) - Marvin Jordan knocked down a game-winning 3- pointer in the closing seconds to lift the Niagara Purple Eagles to a 66-65 decision over the Canisius Golden Griffins in a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference battle at the Koessler Center.
Canisius guard Billy Baron came down the court and scored to apparently give the Griffs the win with a final second buzzer beater. However after looking at the replay officials determined that Baron did not get the shot off in time and the basket didn't count. That gave Niagara the win in yet another thrilling game between the old rivals.
"I don't know if I have ever been prouder," head coach Joe Mihalich said. "We wouldn't give in. The way the first half ended, in the middle of the (second) half we were down and got down four late. For our guys to keep their composure and the next thing we knew it was tied. It was an incredible game. I'm proud of our team...we beat a good team."
"This was a hard-fought game today," Canisius head coach Jim Baron said. "We had a good win at Rider [on Friday] and we knew coming into today that it was going to be a battle. They have some great athletes and to their credit, they got to the foul line and we did not. They stepped up and made some big shots and we had a few unfortunate turnovers at key times. Marvin Jordan really stepped up for them and hit that shot at the end and we just fell short."
Jordan provided a huge spark off the bench for Niagara (13-8, 9-1 MAAC) with a team-high 23 points on 9-of-18 shooting from the field. Antoine Mason chipped in 14 points while Juan'ya Green contributed nine points, eight assists, and five steals. The victory was the sixth in a row and kept the Purple Eagles in sole possession of first place in the MAAC standings.
For Canisius (13-8, 6-4), Chris Manhertz provided a double-double of a career- high 17 points and 15 rebounds to lead the way. Isaac Sosa scored 14 points and Harold Washington chipped in 12. Billy Baron went 4-of-14 from the floor en route to nine points, which he accompanied with six assists.
Both sides struggled in the opening half. Niagara connected on just 35.7 percent of its field goal tries in the opening 20 minutes, while the Golden Griffins connected on 36.3 percent of their shots from the floor, including 7- of-20 from 3-point range, to take a 32-25 lead into the intermission.
The Purple Eagles improved to shoot 45.2 percent from the floor after the break which helped it overcome a 10-point deficit in the second half. The game was knotted up at 63 with under a minute remaining. Baron stripped Ameen Tanksley and put in a layup to give Canisius a late two-point lead, but his clutch play set the stage for Jordan's late game heroics.
Canisius held a 42-37 edge in the rebounding battle, but it was outscored, 12-5, at the free throw line.
Niagara has enjoyed great success over Canisius in the past ten seasons having won 18 of the last 21 including nine of the last 12 at the Koessler Center.