Purple Eagles

Charron_Fisher AP Photo
I’m not a big basketball fan, but I do enjoy the college game and especially March Madness. One of my favorite college players was Calvin Murphy, who played for Niagara University in Western New York before he went on to play for the Houston Rockets (where it set the all time record for consecutive free throws).

He made me a fan when he was asked by Sports Illustrated “What’s it like, being the shortest guy in pro basketball?” He answered, correctly. “Short? Hell, I’m not short – I’m 5’8″, that’s average. I’m just playin’ with a bunch of freaks.”

In 1970, the Niagara Purples Eagles lost in the NCAA semis to my team, Villanova (led then by Howard Porter), but it was a great year for basketball in Western New York, with both Calvin Murphy and St. Bonaventure’s Bob Lanier playing in the area.

Today, there’s a new name to remember at Niagara, Charron Fisher. He leads the nation is scoring, and may lead the Purple Eagles back to the NCAAs.

Fisher scored 45 points at Loyola (Md.) on Feb. 10, and had 41 in his next game against Iona, becoming the first player since Gonzaga’s Adam Morrison in 2006 to have back-to-back 40-point games. Fisher has scored at least 30 points 10 times and has scored a at least 17 points in every game as Niagara (17-8, 11-5 in the MAAC) has surged into a tie for first place in its conference.

And if there’s ever a time and place where anything can happen, it’s the NCAAs in March.

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