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by Staff Writer / Buffalo Sabres

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The excitement of Big 4 men's college basketball makes its return to HSBC Arena on Saturday, January 2, 2010 with a MAAC doubleheader. The Niagara University Purple Eagles will take on Iona College at 2:00 p.m. followed by the Canisius College Golden Griffins squaring off against Fairfield University at 4:30 p.m.

Niagara is coming off a 2008-09 campaign which saw them win 26 games, second most in school history, and earn a National Invitational Tournament (NIT) berth. The Purple Eagles return a senior laden team, which includes two members of the 2009 MAAC All Tournament First Team in Bilal Benn and Tyrone Lewis. Both Benn (13.8 ppg, 9.3 rpg) and Lewis (16.2 ppg, 2.6 spg) were also chosen as Preseason First Team All MAAC selections by the league's coaches. Niagara and Iona split their two match-ups during the 2008-09 regular season.

Canisius will enter the 106th season in school history in 2009-10 and will make their fourth trip in four seasons to HSBC Arena. The Griffins advanced to the quarterfinals of the MAAC tournament last season and look to build on the strong finish that saw them win four of their last six games. Returning for this season are the top 6 scorers from the 2008-09 team, including Preseason Third Team All MAAC selections Frank Turner and Greg Loggins. Turner, a senior, averaged 15.6 points and 4 assists per game last season while leading the Griffins in scoring for the second straight season. Loggins made 25 starts as a sophomore last season, while averaging 11.3 points and 7 rebounds per game, which lead the team.

Tickets go on-sale Tuesday, November 17 at 9 a.m. Tickets are $10, $15, $20, and $30. A Family Value Pack will also be available for $59 and includes four (4) tickets, four (4) hot dogs, four (4) sodas, and one (1) bag of popcorn. Tickets can be purchased at the HSBC Arena Box Office and all outlets, including participating Tops Markets. Tickets are also available on line at For more information, or to charge by phone, call toll free at (888) 223-6000. Tickets are subject to applicable service charges.

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