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Big Four Basketball

Niagara men's basketball held to 39 points in loss

Perhaps Rutgers didn’t impress with its two-point victory against Bryant in its opening men’s basketball game last week, but it certainly did against new coach Greg Paulus’ Niagara Purple Eagles on Sunday at the Rutgers Athletic Center in Piscataway, N.J.

The Scarlet Knights (2-0) tore away to a 16-2 lead at the start and led by as many as 48 points in the second half on the way to an 86-39 rout of Niagara (0-2).

It was the lowest point total in a game for the Purple Eagles since they also scored 39 in a loss to Drexel in December 2010.

None of the 11 players Paulus used in the game scored in double figures, and Niagara was outrebounded, 35-21. The Purple Eagles made 16 of 52 shots for 30.8%. They were 6 for 27 (22.2%) in the first half. For the game, Rutgers was 35 of 59 for 59.3.

Scarlet Knights coach Steve Pikiell took it easy. The most any Rutgers starter played was 27 minutes by 6-foot-4-inch junior guard George Baker, who was high scorer with 22 points.

Niagara’s road swing to open the season continues with a game at Stephen F. Austin Wednesday in Texas.

Bona women lose to Akron

Akron ended the game on a 17-0 run over the last 4 minutes and 52 seconds and came back to defeat St. Bonaventure, 63-54, in their nonconference women’s basketball game at the Reilly Center on Sunday afternoon.

The Bonnies led for more than 38 of the 40 minutes but did not score after a 3-point basket by freshman Olivia Tucker with 6:04 left. The visiting Zips made four baskets and nine of 13 free throws the rest of the way while Bona missed eight field goal attempts and turned the ball over six times.

Bona had one more field goal and nine more 3-pointers than Akron, but was outscored 25-5 at the foul line. The Bonnies committed 21 fouls to Akron’s 12 and were outscored 30-10 in the paint.

“That’s a team that has been playing together for awhile now,” St. Bonaventure coach Jesse Fleming said of Akron. “I’m not sitting here being negative about this loss.”

Deja Francis led the Bonnies with 13 points. Tucker had a career-high 11.

Usual scoring leaders Emily Calabrese and Asianae Johnson were limited to 10 points between them.

Shaunay Edmonds led Akron with 20 points and had seven of her 10 steals in the second half.

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