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All-Time Greats
Emilio J. (Zeke) Sinacola Baltico “Bo” S. Erias
1948-51 ~ New York City, N.Y.
1951-54 ~ Austoria, Long Island, N.Y.
Sinacola became the fi rst Niagara player to pass the

1,000-career point mark, fi nishing his career with 1,188
Playing with outstanding fellow players, Bo Erias was
points to set a Western New York scoring record. Sinacola
called upon to sacrifi ce individual achievement for team
played some of his best basketball in his hometown. After
success. And success came their way with a 46-12 combined
his sophomore season, he was selected as the outstanding
record over his fi nal two varsity seasons, including two NIT
visiting player to appear at Madison Square Garden during
bids.
the 1948-49 campaign after leading Niagara to a 66-64 win
As a junior, the 6-4 power player hit several key baskets
over C.C.N.Y. Sinacola hit the game-winning shot with 23 seconds to play
in overtime to lead Niagara to an 82-76 win over Brigham Young in the
in overtime. The Purple Eagles knocked C.C.N.Y. off again his junior year,
1953 NIT, marking Niagara’s fi rst NIT win. He fi nished with 12 points. As a
earning national recognition and eventually a 1950 NIT bid, Niagara’s fi rst. In
senior, he had 13 points as part of Niagara’s balanced attack in a 76-66 win
his senior year, Sinacola gave another sterling performance at MSG, scoring
over No. 5 La Salle. In the 1954 NIT Tournament, Erias had a team-high 20
29 points in a 77-75 upset of St. John’s. The Fort Wayne Pistons selected him
points to pace Niagara to a 77-74 win over Dayton in the second round. In
in the 1951 NBA draft, where he played until 1953-54.
the fi nal game of his career, Erias tallied a team-best 21 points in a 71-65 win
over Western Kentucky in the consolation championship game of the NIT.
Year G FG-FGA Pct FT-FTA Pct Reb Avg Pts Avg
After graduation, he was selected in the fi fth round of the 1954 NBA draft by
1948-49 158 127- 443
Rochester. He played part of the 1957-58 NBA season with Minneapolis.
1949-50 27 105 83- 293 10.8
Year G FG-FGA Pct FT-FTA Pct Reb Avg Pts Avg
1950-51 27 177 98-148 452 16.7
1951-52 25 101 76-116 .655 278 11.1
Totals 440-1223 .359 318- 1,188
1952-53 25 83 .424 66-86 .767 232 9.2
1953-54 30 116 75-116 .646 307 10.2
The numbers of Sinacola (19), Tom Birch (11) and Jim Totals 80 300 219-318 .688 819 10.2
Moran (21) were retired immediately following their senior
season in 1951 after the trio carried Niagara to a 62-24
record over their three varsity years.
Ed Fleming
Moran, who led the nation in fi eld-goal accuracy as a 1951-55 ~ Pittsburgh, Pa.
junior, became the team’s top rebounder by his senior year.
Birch was a strong playmaker and was among the national Ed Fleming left Niagara as its all-time leading scorer and
leaders as a senior. As sophomores, the trio combined for
Tom
Birch
still ranks fi fth on the career scoring list. He helped Niagara
49 of Niagara’s 62 points in a 62-59 win over nationally
1947-51
to an amazing 66-18 record over his three years, and earned
ranked Dayton at the Buffalo Auditorium. Niagara upset
Bronx, N.Y.
three-straight NIT bids and retired the Flight Memorial
Syracuse in the 1950-51 season before the largest crowd Trophy by winning the Little Three title for three-straight
of the year at the State Fair Coliseum, 71-70. Sinacola led years.
all scorers with 23. As a sophomore, the 6-2 guard played all 70 minutes of Niagara’s 88-81
In their fi nal game in the Aud, Birch gave a stellar display six-overtime win vs. Siena. He changed his number to 70 for his fi nal two
of killing the clock and was carried off the court after a seasons. That same year, Fleming led a balanced Niagara attack with 19 points
51-46 victory before 12,165. Even the losses were exciting. in a 74-66 win over No. 5 La Salle, overcoming a 25-point effort by Explorer
For example, in 1949-50, Niagara hosted San Francisco, the All-American Tom Gola. Fleming almost made it two in a row over Gola and
defending NIT champs, at the Aud and lost a tight game, the Explorers when he scored 32 points against La Salle in the 1954-55 season,
52-48. A year later, Niagara pushed top-ranked Bradley
Jim
but the top-ranked La Salle squad won, 76-75. Fleming exploded offensively
before falling, 78-74.
Moran
the fi nal semester of his senior year, including a 38-point effort in a win over
The trio were key players for coach Taps Gallagher as
1947-51
St. Bonaventure, a 25-point night in a win over St. John’s at Madison Square
he returned to Monteagle Ridge from service in the U.S. Bronx, N.Y. Garden and 28 points in the fi rst-round NIT win over Lafayette. When he
Navy and re-established himself as a master recruiter and graduated, Fleming held the Niagara career records for points (1,682), fi eld
coach. goals (605), free throws (472) and rebounds (975). He was selected in the
Birch
third round of the 1955 NBA draft by Rochester and played six seasons in
Year G FG-FGA Pct FT-FTA Pct Reb Avg Pts Avg
the NBA.
1948-49 106 58- 270
Year G FG-FGA Pct FT-FTA Pct Reb Avg Pts Avg
1949-50 27 93 79- 265 9.8
1951-52 28 120 74-109 .678 314 11.2
1950-51 28 97 98-147 .667 292 10.4
1952-53 28 131 .456 86-126 .682 348 12.4
Totals 296-755 .392 827
1953-54 30 156 115-147 .782 427 14.0
Moran
1954-55 26 198 197-245 .804 593 22.8
Year G FG-FGA Pct FT-FTA Pct Reb Avg Pts Avg
Totals 112 605 472-627 .752 975 8.7 1,682 15.0
1948-49 121 58- 300
1949-50 27 98 52- 248 9.1
1950-51 28 83 53-79 .670 221 7.8
Totals 86 302-570 .529 769
Taps Gallagher never used those numbers again, but no offi cial record was kept of the retired numbers. Number
11 returned to use in 1967; number 21 in 1990. Jim Moran brought the forgotten honor of the retired numbers
to Niagara’s attention in 1999, but Luis Villafañe was already using number 11. After he completed his fi nal
season, the numbers have not been used.
2008-09 Purple Eagles Men’s Basketball
79
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