Fisher leads Niagara past Santa Clara 56-53 in tournament final

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SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP)—Charron Fisher scored 26 points, including a pair of free throws in the final six seconds, and Niagara held off Santa Clara 56-53 to win the Cable Car Classic title on Saturday night.

Fisher scored 19 of his points in the second half as the Purple Eagles (9-3) won their fourth straight. Fisher, named tournament MVP, just missed his fifth consecutive double-double as he also had nine rebounds.

Tyrone Lewis added 17 points for Niagara, which advanced to last year’s NCAA tournament after winning the MAAC tournament championship.

Ben Dowdell scored a career high 22 points for the Broncos (8-6), who lost for the third time in four games. Brody Angley, the hero of Friday night’s overtime victory, added 10 points and matched his career high with 11 rebounds.

Fisher, the nation’s leading scorer, recorded Niagara’s first 10 points of the second half and the Purple Eagles raced to a 36-29 lead. After missing seven of his first 10 shots, Fisher made five of his first seven attempts of the second half.

The Broncos eventually rallied to tie the score at 47-all when Dowdell converted a three-point play with 6:26 remaining to play.

Niagara held Santa Clara scoreless over the next four minutes and rebuilt its lead to 54-47.

Dowdell ended that with an emphatic dunk and later hit another basket as the Broncos drew within 54-51. That’s the way it remained until Angley hit a pair of free throws with eight seconds left to make it 54-53.

The Purple Eagles scored first, which they have done every game. Santa Clara answered with five consecutive baskets, including three 3-pointers, while Niagara missed eight in a row.

Santa Clara held the advantage at halftime, 28-26.

Earlier, Denver beat Morgan State 54-44 in the consolation game.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 Niagara
C. Fisher C. Fisher
9-23,  26 Pts
9 Rebs, 0 Assists
 Santa Clara
B. Dowdell B. Dowdell
9-19,  22 Pts
6 Rebs, 1 Assists

Team Stat Leaders

Points
Rebounds
Assists

Top 25 Scoreboard

Saturday, Dec 29