The Niagara men’s basketball team had to hold off a late charge from Monmouth to squeak out a 78-77 win in the Gallagher Center Friday.
The Purple Eagles were up, 77-66 with 2:45 left to play, but Monmouth went on an 11-1 run, capped by a three-pointer from Pierre Saar with 40 seconds left to bring the Hawks within one. Niagara’s defense held on, to give the Purple Eagles their third straight win, improving to 3-2 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and 10-8 overall.
Monmouth took an early 9-2 lead, but Niagara responded with an 11-3 run to take a 13-12 lead with 11:37 left in the first half and went on to a 40-31 halftime lead. The Purple Eagles led by as many as 13, taking a 67-54 lead on a three-pointer from Kahil Dukes with 8:22 left to play.
Dukes led Niagara with 25 points. James towns had 18 poitns and Marvin Prochet 10 rebounds.
— Niagara Basketball (@NiagaraMBB) January 13, 2018
Mercyhurst tops Niagara in Atlantic Hockey
After dominating shots on goal in the first period, 16-5, Mercyhurst broke through for two early goals in the second en route to a 3-2 win over Niagara in Erie, Pa.
The Purple Eagles got on the board at 12:07 of the second with a goal from Nick Farmer, but the Lakers regained their two-goal lead early in the third.
Big backhand goal there to get this game to 3-2!
🚨 Mills (3)
🍎 Mucci (2)
🍎 Spriggs (1) pic.twitter.com/DcLxXLutbL
— Niagara Hockey (@NiagaraUHockey) January 13, 2018
Zach Mills scored on the backhand at 13:46 of the period, but the Purple Eagles (10-11-2) couldn’t find the equalizer. The teams meet again at 7 p.m. Saturday in Mercyhurst Ice Arena.
"There's some battle there late," Niagara coach Jason Lammers said. "We want to find some better consistency for the other 55 minutes. It's something we need to grow in our game. There's only one thing to do and that's to work our way out of it, and we need to put in some more work."
The St. Bonaventure men face their biggest Atlantic 10 challenge when they travel to Rhode Island to play the Rams in an 11 a.m. game. The Bonnies are 12-4 overall, 2-2 in conference play while the Rams are undefeated in the Atlantic 10 (4-0) with a 12-3 overall mark.
The Bonnies lead the A-10 in field goal percentage defense (.411) and three-point defense (.295) and are fourth in scoring defense (68.1 ppg).
Offensively, senior point guard Jaylen Adams has earned A-10 Player of the Week honors three times already this year and leads St. Bonaventure in scoring (18.5 points per game), assists (5.5) and three-point shooting (.522). With Matt Mobley averaging 17.0 points the Bona backbourt is scoring 35.5 points per game and shooting 40 percent from three-point range.
The Rams, picked to finish first in the pre-season A-10 poll, are on a seven-game winning streak and are 9-0 at home this season.
Also in action Saturday, the University at Buffalo men host Miami (Ohio) at 2 p.m. The Bulls are the only undefeated team in the Mid-American Conference and are looking for their first 4-0 start since Buffalo joined the MAC for the 1998-99 season.
The Bulls (11-5 overall) lead the conference in scoring, averaging 91.3 points in their first three MAC games. Six different players have had 20-point performances this season for the Bulls, The RedHawaks (9-7 overall, 2-1 MAC), have the second-best scoring defense in the league, giving up 69.9 points per game.
On the women’s side, all of the Big 4 teams are in action with Canisius and Niagara at home for Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference contests.
Canisius hosts Siena at 2 p.m. with the Golden Griffins (3-13, 1-4) looking to end a three-game losing streak. Niagara hosts Manhattan at 3 p.m. The Purple Eagles (5-10, 2-2) are coming off a win over Siena in which Victoria Rampado scored 41 points, the second most in Niagara women’s basketball history.
Buffalo is on the road to play Ball State. The Bulls are off to a 3-1 start in the MAC and are 12-3 overall. The UB defense ranks fourth in the country in steals per game (14.0) while Cierra Dillard is 20th in the nation (3.1 steals per game). They meet a Ball State tam that is 14-1 overall and 3-1 in conference play.
St. Bonaventure is in Philadelphia to play LaSalle. Senior Mariah Ruff was the A-10 Co-Player of the Week for the Bonnies (6-11, 1-3) after averaging 27.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and shooting over 45 percent in a 1-1 week for the Bonnies.