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Game capsule: Monmouth 56, Niagara 42

LEWISTON -- In a game that had all the flow and appeal of a clogged drain, Monmouth shot badly, Niagara shot worse and the Hawks left the Taps Gallagher Center Sunday afternoon on the favorable side of a 56-42 decision in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference play.

They could have contested this one with a 10-second shot clock and it would have made little difference. The halftime score favored Monmouth 27-15. The Purple Eagles shot 23.8 percent in the first half and 30.9 percent for the game. The Hawks weren't all that much better, shooting 39.6 percent overall and just 18.8 percent (3 of 16) from behind the arc.

Records: Both teams are now 1-1 in the MAAC. Niagara slipped to 2-6 overall. Monmouth, which drew votes in last week's national rankings, improved to 5-3 all told.

Little Resistance: Niagara never mounted a serious second-half threat. The Purple Eagles trailed by 12 at the half, got it to 10 shortly after intermission and then stalled. The Hawks went on a 9-3 burst to open their advantage to 43-27.

Rock bottom: Niagara scored just 15 first-half points, had twice as many turnovers (10) as field goals (five) and, despite shooting 5 of 21, managed just one offensive rebound. At least Dominic Robb turned that offensive board into one of the Purple Eagles' five field goals.

36 hours later: Niagara's offensive digression came on the heels of Friday night's 76-72 victory over Quinnipiac, a game in which the Purple Eagles shot 57.4 percent from the field and 50 percent from beyond the arc. The turnaround was no less dramatic for Monmouth, which in a Friday night loss at Canisius encountered a Griffs' team that poured in 53 first-half points, going 12 of 20 from three-point range.

Next Up: Niagara renews its Vincentian rivalry with St. John's at 5 p.m. Wednesday in New York. The Red Storm is in its first season under former great Chris Mullin, who has a historical link with Niagara. Mullin played on the fourth-ranked St. John's team that was upset by the Purple Eagles at the old Niagara Falls Convention Center in December of 1984.

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