Niagara (6-5) broke open a close, back-and-forth game with an 18-3 run in the second half to take a 17-point lead and went on to a 78-66 over Army (5-8) on Saturday afternoon before 798 in Christl Arena at West Point.
The winning spurt included an 11-0 run with the Purple Eagles making 8 of 12 shots including two 3-pointers by freshman guard Marcus Hammond. When it was over Niagara owned a 72-55 lead with 2:56 left.
Niagara coach Chris Casey had been expecting a breakout performance by Hammond based on his play in practice and is beginning to get it. Hammond had nine points in the loss at Cleveland State on Wednesday and has made 5 of 7 shots from 3-points range in the last two games.
"Better late than ever, huh?" Casey said of the contributions from Hammond during an interview on the Niagara postgame radio show.
James Towns led Niagara with 19 points, 16 in the second half. The 5-10 junior guard from Detroit also had five assists and six rebounds. Dominic Robb had 13 points, Marvin Prochet 15 points and nine rebounds and Greg King a season-high 11 rebounds.
Bona women at UB
St. Bonaventure’s women’s team (3-8) will be trying for a sweep of its Western New York Big 4 rivals when it faces the University at Buffalo at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday afternoon at Alumni Arena. The Bonnies already own wins over Niagara and Canisius but UB, 7-3 with two losses to nationally ranked teams, is expected to be tougher to crack.
UB defeated the Bonnies, 76-59, in their last meeting a year ago. It was a game in which Bona lost its scoring leader Mckenna Maycock for more than a month when she suffered a knee injury. Maycock missed six games with another injury this season but since has returned to form. She scored 21 points, two under her career high, in Monday’s 76-64 loss at Kent State.
UB star Cierra Dillard had 14 points in last year’s win at Bona. She has not been held under 20 in a game yet this season.