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Immediate reactions: Canisius 87, Niagara 74


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Griffs stunned by Nicholas’ Miller-esque heroics - VIDEO

blog by Ben Tsujimoto  • 


It was Canisius’ most agonizing loss of the season, where the unexpected became the norm in the final 12 seconds of the MAAC clash against Monmouth.

Exactly a week after the Griffs slammed the Hawks by 20 at home, King Rice’s club turned to three-point sharpshooter Andrew Nicholas in the rematch’s waning moments to stun Canisius, 83-82, setting off a wild celebration at the Multipurpose Activity Center (yes, that’s the gym’s real name).

With the Griffs protecting a five-point lead with 12 seconds left, Monmouth’s Deon Jones dribbled at the Canisius defense before kicking the ball out to Nicholas, who spotted up in the right corner. Before Phil Valenti could close on the shooter, the lefty canned a three-pointer.

Canisius senior transfer Chris Perez alertly inbounded quickly to Billy Baron, who was fouled by Monmouth’s Tyrone O’Garro.

A two-point advantage with Baron, a conference-best 92.1 percent free-throw shooter, heading to the line means game over, right?

Nope. Baron’s front-end of a one-and-one bounced off the rim—agonizingly close—before Jones ripped down the rebound and sprinted in the other direction.

Nicholas streaked down the right wing again—receiving Jones’ pass and hoisting another triple, this time over Perez’s out-stretched arms.

The ball swished through the hoop with two seconds left, and a desperation heave from Baron didn’t come close—closing an afternoon where he turned the ball over eight times.

The Canisius point guard didn’t turn the ball over once in the first meeting against Monmouth.

With a serious chip on their shoulders, the Griffs return home to face rival Niagara for the Battle of the Bridge at 7 p.m. Wednesday. The game is already sold out.

Nicholas’ exploits on Sunday reminded us of Reggie Miller’s eight-points-in-8.9-seconds eruption against the New York Knicks in Game 1 of the 1995 Eastern Conference Semifinals.

TAGGED: andrew nicholas, billy baron, canisius griffins, college basketball, monmouth hawks, videos

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