Matt Scott scored 25 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out six assists in Niagara's come-from-behind 77-71 victory against Army on Monday night. The Purple Eagles rode strong shooting from the line down the stretch, scoring their last nine points off free throws.
Niagara has won two of its last three entering a Big Four matchup with UB on Wednesday.
Kahlil Dukes, who averaged 22.2 points per game coming into the game, had his quietest outing of the season. He scored seven points on 2 for 7 shooting.
Marvin Prochet and Keleaf Tate filled in with his usual production, scoring 12 and 11 points, respectively.
Game of runs: Niagara responded well after Army got out to a 10-point lead with 5:46 remaining in the first half. The Purple Eagles went on a 10-0 run to tie the game, kicked off with 3-point makes by Scott and Tate. Unfortunately, the Black Knights did not back down. Army went on a 7-0 run to end the half up 40-33.
Lightning struck twice for the Purple Eagles, who went on another 10-0 run to tie the game at 53-53 at the halfway mark of the second frame.
Struggling with efficiency: Niagara had issues hitting shots, with its field goal and 3-point percentages hovering in the high 20s and low 30s a majority of the game. Even after the big run at the end of the first half, Niagara was still shooting just 33 percent.
Scott, the team's top scorer and clear offensive focal point, shot 8 for 21. That's a five-point percentage decrease from his season average.
Second chance: Niagara overcame the shooting disparity and even rebounding totals by making the most of second chances. The Purple Eagles scored 17 second chance points on 17 offensive rebounds.
They are who we thought: Army's big names played to their strengths Monday night. Fox, who leads the Patriot League in scoring, notched double-digit points for an 11th straight game for the Black Knights. A late surge pushed him to 21 points, above his season average of 20 points per game. Tommy Funk, who leads the Patriot League and is 14th in the country in assists per game, dished out seven dimes. Army's rebound leader, Matt Wilson, grabbed 12 boards.
Busy stretch: The Army game was the third of four home games in six days for the Purple Eagles. Niagara is 2-1 in this run, defeating Alabama A&M but losing to UT-Arlington in the two previous outings.
Short-term rivals: Niagara and Army hadn't met since the 1989-90 season, Niagara's first season in the MAAC and Army's last. With Monday's victory, Niagara moved out to an 8-7 lead in the all-time series.
Player of the game: Scott scored 20 points for a fifth straight game.
Up next: The Purple Eagles host the 3-2 UB Bulls on Wednesday at the Gallagher Center. Niagara fell 76-66 to the Bulls in the Purple Eagles' opener last season. The Purple Eagles are off to a good start in Big Four action this season, upsetting St. Bonaventure 77-75 on the road on Nov. 10.