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Big 4 roundup: Niagara men's basketball rallies but can't hold off Quinnipiac

Niagara dug out of an early deficit, took an eight-point lead in the second half but could not hold on and lost to Quinnipiac, 84-73, Sunday afternoon in a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference men’s basketball game at the Gallagher Center.

Coach Chris Casey went to his bench early when his starters fell behind the visiting Bobcats, 11-1. In no time, Niagara came back to tie the game at 23-all with substitutes leading the way. Raheem Solomon and Marcus Hammond had five points each, Greg King scored four and Greg Kuakumensah had four. Chris Barton (5) and Kaleaf Tate  were the only starters to contribute scoring to the rally.

Niagara led, 41-38, at the half and owned its largest lead of the game, 46-38, early in the second half. Niagara’s last lead was 61-59 before Quinnipiac went off on an 11-0 run and stayed in front the rest of the game.

Three Quinnipiac players reached the 20-point mark as the Bobcats shot 49 percent (25 of 51) for the game, 13 of 24 in the second half. Cameron Young (22), Rich Kelly (21) and Jacob Rigoni (20) led the onslaught. Overall the Bobcats made 12 of 28 3-point tries to 10 for 28 for Niagara. Kelly hit 5 of 7 and Rigoni 4 of 6 from long range.

Niagara’s scoring was led by Marvin Prochet, Solomon and Tate with 13 points each. Starters James Towns and Dominic Robb played only 14 and 16 minute,s respectively.

The loss dropped Niagara to 4-6 in the MAAC and 11-12 overall. Quinnipiac is 6-4 in conference and 11-10 overall after gaining a split of the season series with the Purple Eagles.

Bona women top GMU

The St. Bonaventure women gained a sweep of their Atlantic 10 Conference season series against George Mason with a 64-55 triumph against the Patriots at the Reilly Center. GMU is 11-10, 3-5 in the conference. It was the third victory a row for Bona (7-14, 4-4 A-10), its longest win streak of the season.

The Bonnies took a 36-21 lead into halftime after they held George Mason to eight points in the opening quarter.

Mckenna Maycock led the way with 19 points and eight rebounds and Deja Francis finished with 13 points and six assists as well as three steals. Danielle Migliore and Bree Paulson each had 10 points for the Bonnies.

“We’ve been locked in,” St. Bonaventure coach Jesse Fleming said. “I like where we’ve been offensively and defensively. We’re sharing the ball and getting great contributions from our bench.”

The Patriots closed what had been a 57-44 lead to 57-51 with 3:01 to go but freshman Asianae Johnson drove for a basket then passed to Emily Calabrese with a pass that led to a traditional 3-point play to help put it away.

“She’s kind of our closer,” Fleming said. “She is just so explosive and that’s why we like to put her into the point guard position down the stretch of games and watch what she can do.”

St. Bonaventure’s defense held Atlantic 10 scoring leader Nicole Cardano-Hillary to seven points. Cardano-Hillary has 1,000 career points though just a sophomore.

The Bonnies are back in action Wednesday at home against Atlantic 10 leader VCU at 7 p.m.

MAAC  action

Off to their best start since 2004-05 in the conference, the Niagara women (10-11, 6-3 MAAC) will Lace Up 4 Pediatric Cancer against Saint Peter’s at 7 p.m. on Monday at the Gallagher Center. The game was postponed from last Thursday.

The Purple Eagles are coming off Saturday’s 72-53 win over Iona, which completed their first season sweep of the Gaels since 2004-05.

Saint Peter’s is 6-14, 1-8 in the MAAC with the lone win over Fairfield.

Canisius (8-12, 6-3 MAAC), which completed its sweep over Saint Peter’s on Saturday, 78-59, will face Iona at 7 p.m. in the Koessler Center.

The Gaels (1-20) are winless in 10 MAAC starts. Junior transfer Morgan Rachu scored 23 points for Iona in the loss at Niagara, including 6 of 13 from 3-point range.

The Canisius men, who have won four of their last five games, follow against Marist at 7 p.m.

Canisius (9-12, 6-3) is a game beyond Rider in the standings. Marist is last in the MAAC at 8-14 and 3-7.

The Golden Griffins could be without Isaiah Reese, who was suspended indefinitely before Friday’s 75-70 victory against Quinnipiac for conduct detrimental to the team.

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