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NIAGARA FALLS TO FAIRLEIGH DICKINSON

The road only gets tougher for Niagara University.

The Purple Eagles couldn't keep pace in the second half and suffered their second straight loss Tuesday night, dropping an 83-67 decision to Fairleigh Dickinson in a non-conference game at the Rothman Center.

And things won't get any better for Niagara (1-3), which plays seventh-ranked Indiana in the first round of the Indiana Classic Friday night in Bloomington.

Two Eagles, Mike Hartman and Scott Ramey, remained sidelined by injuries Tuesday night. Hartman saw limited action in Friday's loss to St. John's, while Ramey has missed the last two games because of a sprained foot.

Desi Wilson, last year's Northeast Conference Player of the Year, scored 27 points to lead FDU (3-1). Niagara got 14 from David Bertram and 13 from Darren Brown.

The Eagles trailed by only four (40-36) at the half as Brian Clifford scored eight points and Brown added seven. FDU's Brad McClain, who was 4 of 4 from three-point range, hit one just before the buzzer to give the Knights the four-point lead.

But it was Wilson, FDU's 6-foot-8 center, whose powerful play inside hurt the Eagles as he snagged 10 rebounds.

"Their inside strength simply wore us down in the second half," said Niagara coach Jack Armstrong. "Wilson played a great game. He was the main reason two of our big men (Sean Schiano and Brown) fouled out."

Point guard Mel Hawkins had 17 points for Fairleigh Dickinson and McClain added 14.

Niagara plays Indiana Friday night at 7 (Radio 1440), while San Diego meets North Carolina-Wilmington at 9.

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