NIAGARA UNIV., N.Y. - (Niagara Press Release)The Niagara Purple Eagles opened their MAAC schedule with an 84-71 setback to the Siena Saints on Friday at the Gallagher Center.
Niagara, which was playing its first home game since Nov. 13, has its four-game winning streak against Siena (3-7, 1-0 MAAC) snapped. The Saints never trailed in tonight’s game as they benefited from a slow offensive start by the Purple Eagles (1-8, 0-1 MAAC). Siena jumped out to a 16-7 lead after six minutes into the game. A layup by Rayvon Harris tied the score at 26-26 with 8:55 left in the opening half, but Siena went on a 19-4 spurt for the next six minutes and en route to a 47-35 halftime advantage.
“I have to figure out how we can start games better, because we are not starting well enough,” head coach Chris Casey said. “We had a number of plays around the basket in the beginning of the game that we didn’t finish, which attributed to the slow start.”
Siena’s lead ballooned to 20 points in the second half, despite the Purple Eagles shooting better from the field (44 percent to 43 percent) than Siena and outscoring the Saints (37-36).
“I thought Siena did a good job today with the zone and we didn’t’ react the way we needed to,” Casey added. “I thought we got some pretty good looks at times and we didn’t make a three. We have to be able to make a shot from the perimeter to open the floor up.”
Antoine Mason, the nation’s leading scorer, led the Purple Eagles in scoring for the ninth straight game this season, finishing with 18 points. Harris was second on the team in points with a career-high 15 points. Ramone Snowden joined the group in double figures with 11 points and shared team-high honors in rebounds with Joe Thomas, who had a season-high seven rebounds and a game and career-high four blocks.
Niagara continues its home conference weekend on Sunday versus the Saint Peter’s Peacocks at 2 p.m. The game will be broadcast on LCTV, 1520 AM and Purple Eagles All-Access.
For ticket information, contact the Niagara Athletic Ticket Office at 716-286-8499, firstname.lastname@example.org and www.PurpleEagles.com/Tickets.
The Niagara Purple Eagles compete in 18 Division I NCAA sports, 17 of which are members of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. The men’s hockey team plays in the Atlantic Hockey Association. The Purple Eagles have qualified for an NCAA Tournament in 13 of the last 14 years. Founded by the Vincentian community in 1856, Niagara University is a private liberal arts university with a strong, values-based Catholic tradition. Its four academic divisions include the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business Administration, Education, and Hospitality and Tourism Management. The university also maintains an Academic Exploration Program that provides a learning environment for students who are undecided about their major. As the first Vincentian university established in the United States, Niagara prepares students for personal and professional success while emphasizing service to the community in honor of St. Vincent de Paul.