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Niagara 68, Canisius 59

December 7, 1996

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Chris Watson scored 19 points and pulled down 13 rebounds to lead Niagara to a 68-59 victory over Canisius Saturday in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference opener for both teams.

Jeff O’Connor added 11 points for Niagara (3-2 overall, 1-0 MAAC), who broke a two-game losing streak.

Kevin Thompson scored a game-high 22 points for Canisius (1-4, 0-1). Ryan Collins chipped in 11 points and nine rebounds. The Golden Griffins have lost four in a row.

Led by O’Connor’s six points and Watson’s five, Niagara scored the game’s first 21 points.

Canisius finally got on the board an a Thompson free throw 9:09 into the game. They didn’t get a field goal until Kevin Worley connected on a three-pointer with 8:37 left in the half.

The Golden Griffins then outscored the Purple Eagles 18-7 the rest of the half, and trailed by just six, 28-22, at halftime.

A dunk by Dale Sawyers brought Canisius to within 45-42 with 8:23 to go, but Calvin Murphy Jr.’s three-point shot started a 6-0 run giving Niagara a 51-42 lead with 6:50 remaining.

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