Sports

The Battle of the Bridge

The rivalry lasting over a century still brings out the best in Purple Eagle fans

It started in 1904. Now in 2018, the rivalry between Niagara University and Canisius College is still going strong.

Coming off of a dominating 105-89 victory for the Niagara men this season, and a series sweep last season, they now lead the all time series 100-82, a clear advantage for the Purple Eagles.  **The Niagara women’s team also added insult to injury with a $$$ victory on Feb. 1.*** (Need to update on 2/1)

The fuel behind the Western New York rivalry has been the passion of the fans. The Niagara women currently sit $$$ ahead of Canisius in the MAAC, with their final meeting scheduled for Feb. 20. The men, after securing a victory at Canisius on Jan. 27, round two at “Taps” Gallagher Center will fall on Feb. 21.

Being in the stands for a Niagara vs Canisius game is where one can really tell how much this rivalry means to the fans. Student sections are constantly chirping back and forth, refs step in between players on the court much more frequently than usual. That’s the beauty of a rivalry, when it’s so apparent how much a win would mean to each fan-base as well as the competing players.

With Canisius currently sitting a half game ahead of the Niagara men in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC), the stage is set for the stakes to be high when the two foes meet in the second last game of the season while the women will hope to bounce back/continue progress.

Both basketball squads for Niagara continue to rise in MAAC

Men stay hot, look to take momentum into postseason

Record: 14-9 (7-3)

Scoring leaders

  • Kahlil Dukes, 21.1
  • Matt Scott, 20.7

Rebounds

  • Marvin Prochet, 7.9
  • Matt Scott, 7.7

Assists

  • Kahlil Dukes, 3.4
  • Matt Scott, 2.7

Matt Scott has been the catalyst for this Purple Eagles squad, posting career highs in points and rebounds. Scott has had back-to-back 20 plus point games, both resulting in Purple Eagles victories. Kahlil Dukes has also been vital to the team’s success this season shooting 45 percent from three-point range, and 90 percent from the free throw line. He also had 28 points against crosstown rival Canisius on the road.

Head Coach Chris Casey is quoted as saying, “our guys kept it together after the OT loss to Iona and followed it up with a five-game winning streak. The defense has improved, and a couple of more guys have stepped forward…Our guys are hungry; they want to be good, and they want a chance to win this league and it’s reflected in their actions.”

Niagara currently sits at fourth in the MAAC, but they are only one game behind the current leaders, Rider. With eight games remaining, the Eagles certainly have enough time to take control of the conference.

Women move past slow start, heat up down stretch

Record: 8-13 (5-5)

Scoring leaders

Victoria Rampado: 20.8

Kaylee Stroemple: 12.6

Rebounds

Victoria Rampado: 9.4

Kaylee Stroemple: 5.8

Assists

Jamie Sherburne: 4.7

Kaylee Stroemple: 2.5

The women have won four out of their last seven games to climb back to an 8-13 record overall and a 5-5 record in conference, making them tied for sixth in the MAAC. Niagara leads the MAAC in free throw percentage at 77.8 percent, and boast the third highest scoring offense at 66.2 points per game. Rampado scored 41 points this season against Siena, a career high for her and the second- most points scored in a single game in Niagara women’s basketball history.

Stats via purpleeagles.com (Stats are as of Jan. 29, 2018)

Photo via purpleeagles.com

 

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