Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online


February 2, 2007

MEN'S BASKETBALL: In defeat of Manhattan, Niagara gives ESPNU audience a great show

LEWISTON — ESPNU’s presence didn’t satisfy the Niagara Purple Eagles on Friday night.

The cable channel unavailable to most in Western New York was in town to broadcast Niagara’s home date with Manhattan. But in winning 81-70, the Purple Eagles played like they were auditioning for SportsCenter.

The 1,636 fans who spent a snowy evening at Taps Gallagher Center were treated to several plays regularly showcased on ESPN’s flagship program.

There was Charron Fisher scoring in flurries — powerfully dunking in transition, stepping back to swish 3s, strutting toward the crowd after drawing yet another foul on a putback layup — on his way to a game-high 27 points.

And freshman Tyrone Lewis got into the act, darting about for four steals, leaping to block shots (the most spectacular one ended up being a goaltending violation) and soaring for his own breakaway slam.

Milestones, too. Niagara coach Joe Mihalich notched his 100th Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference win. (Along with his “100th MAAC headache,” Mihalich joked). Clif Brown scored 17 points, giving him 1,008 in his career (214 came in two years at Kent State).

Finally, there was Lorenzo Miles’ unfulfilled attempt at a breakaway cram late. Once a week, SportsCenter compiles a Top 10 package, highlighting such futility.

To be fair, Miles hit back-to-back 3s during a 19-4 second-half run that put the Jaspers away in the second half.

Niagara improved to 12-11 and moved into a three-way tie with Siena and Fairfield for fourth place in the MAAC, at 7-5 in league play.

“Every game is a big game, and every game we win we can move up in the standings,” Fisher said. “If we come out and play hard every game and win, we know everything will take care of itself.”

Said Mihalich: “We want February to be our best month.”

The Jaspers (11-11 overall) are 8-4 in the MAAC, a 1 1/2 games behind first-place Loyola. This was Manhattan’s first road loss in MAAC play this season.

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