NIAGARA UNIV., N.Y. – (Niagara University) A career-high day by the backcourt duo of Marvin Jordan and Anthony Nelson led the Niagara Purple Eagles to a 77-60 victory over the Marist Red Foxes on Super Bowl Sunday at the Gallagher Center.
Jordan led the game with a career-high 27 points, but it was his senior mentor that once again stole the show. Nelson recorded the program’s first-ever triple-double with 10 points, 10 rebounds and a career-high 14 assists. Nelson is now 22 assists shy of tying Alvin Cruz’s all-time record of 630. The nation’s leader in steals with 3.3 per contest added to his total with five steals in the game.
Niagara (5-20, 2-11 MAAC) connected on its first five 3-pointers in the early stages from Skylar Jones and Jordan for a 19-8 lead. Nelson reached the 600-assist plateau with his sixth assist in the first half to put NU up 24-17. Nelson and Cruz are the only Purple Eagles to have 600-plus assists in their career.
Marist (4-21, 3-10 MAAC) would cut the lead to 24-22 with 6:07 remaining in the half, but it would be the closet the Red Foxes would get. The Purple Eagles soared to a 42-29 halftime lead for their most points scored in the first half since scoring 45 in the season opener. Jordan scored 19 of his career-high 27 points in the first half and finished the game with a career-best seven 3-pointers.
“It was a good feeling today,” head coach Joe Mihalich said. “We made some shots (today). Skylar (Jones) gave us a big boost today, Marvin is a strong candidate for rookie of the year…I wouldn’t trade (Nelson) for Glover, Needham, Rossiter or anybody else in the MAAC. It is amazing what this guy has done and amazing what he did today.”
The Purple Eagles continued to hit the outside jumper in the second half en route to a season-high 13 3-pointers. The moment that symbolized the game came from their senior floor general. After a steal by Kevon Moore, Nelson juked his defender, went baseline and threw down a tomahawk dunk over Marist’s Adam Kemp. Nelson completed the three-point play to put NU up 64-44.
The Purple Eagles, who have won five of the last six meetings, avenged their Dec. 3 setback in Poughkeepsie while stopping its seven-game losing streak.
“Our goal for February is to be last placed and on March 1 be the team that nobody wants to play,” Mihalich said.
Jones and Kashief Edwards also scored in double figures and each had eight rebounds for the Purple Eagles. Jones finished with 16 points for his second highest total in his career; he scored a career-high of 20 points at Marist. Edwards added 14 points to score in double-digits for the 13th time this season.
Niagara will wrap up its road portion of its schedule next weekend beginning at Loyola on Friday Feb. 11 at 7 p.m.