NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. (Niagara Press Release) – The Niagara Purple Eagles concluded their road conference weekend with a 118-92 defeat to the defending champions Iona Gaels on Saturday afternoon.
Freshman Ramone Snowden led Niagara (4-11, 1-3 MAAC) in scoring with a career-high 23 points, all in the second half, on a career-best 9 of 15 shooting from the field and 4-for-6 from behind the arc. Snowden’s career-high three steals led the game and shared game-high honors with eight rebounds with teammate Rayvon Harris. Antoine Mason, the nation’s leading scorer and local standout, finished with 22 points and four assists in only 31 minutes. Tahjere McCall and Marvin Jordan each added 10 points.
Niagara was unable to keep up with a hot-shooting Iona (6-6, 3-0 MAAC) squad as the Gaels had season-highs in points (118) and field goal percentage (64.5 percent) while setting a school record with 34 assists.
“We got to defend better,” head coach Chris Casey said. “They beat us down the floor a numbers times and beat us off the dribble a lot, which is something they do well. I don’t think they missed an open look.”
The score was tied at 5-5 when Iona went on a 19-4 run to take a 24-9 lead with 11:45 left in the first half. The Gaels, who led as much as 29 points, took a commanding 62-36 halftime lead. The Gaels shot 75 percent from the field and made 8 of 12 3-pointers in the half. Iona also capitalized on Niagara’s nine turnovers which led to 16 points.
The Purple Eagles opened the second half by outscoring Iona 19-13 through the first five minutes to cut the lead to 20, but that would be the closet Niagara would get. Niagara did finish with a season-high of points in a half with 56 to be level with Iona.
“The game isn’t over until the clock reads zero so our guys keep playing.” Casey said about his team’s second-half performance.
Niagara returns home next weekend for a pair of MAAC games beginning on Friday, Jan. 10 at 7 p.m. against Monmouth.