Niagara Men earn first win

November 23, 2010 Updated Nov 23, 2010 at 12:08 AM EDT

By WKBW News

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Niagara Men earn first win

November 23, 2010 Updated Nov 23, 2010 at 12:08 AM EDT

NIAGARA UNIV., N.Y. - A furious second half rally by Niagara handed the Purple Eagles a 65-63 victory over the Mount St. Mary's Mountaineers for their first win of the season at Monday night inside of the Gallagher Center. Four Purple Eagles scored in double-figures, led by a career-high 14 points from freshman guard Marvin Jordan.


"At halftime we had a heated discussion about 'who are we?' and it was time to step up and decide who we are," head coach Joe Mihalich said. "I thought we did that in the second half."


Trailing 39-29 at halftime, Niagara (1-2) opened the second half on a 10-2 run which put the visiting Mountaineers (1-3) on their heels. Jordan and fellow classmate Antoine Mason ignited the run by each scoring five points. The Purple Eagles rode the momentum from the fast start and had big time shots made from freshmen Skylar Jones and Malcolm Lemmons to take the lead.


Jones connected a 3-pointer and had a 3-point play to tie the score at 56-56, and Lemmons drained a free throw to put Niagara up 57-56 with 6:26 remaining. With the game still in the balance, the Purple Eagles made some clutch plays in the paint and several defensive stops. Jordan would hit a key shot with 3:40 remaining to extend NU's lead to 63-60 and Kashief Edwards had a tip-in to put the Purple Eagles up 65-61.


After two made two free throws by Mount St. Mary's Shawn Atupem to cut the lead to 65-63, the Niagara defense was solid to close the game. The Mountaineers had the final possession of the game with 12 seconds left, but Edwards forced MSM's Julian Norfleet to an off-balance 3-point attempt which hit the side of the rim as time expired. Niagara forced the Mountaineers to miss their last six shots of the game.


"It was a gutsy win," Mihalich stated. "We were down and out, but these guys found a way to make it happen and that is the Niagara quality."


The four freshmen, who were all on the court in the final minute, had another solid outing. Jordan led Niagara with a career-high 14 points and with three assists. Mason had 12 points for his third straight game scoring in double-figures. Jones finished with 11 points and tied a career-high with seven rebounds and Lemmons had career-highs with six points and four rebounds.


Sophomore Kevon Moore had a career-night as a Purple Eagle with 11 points and seven rebounds, while Edwards grabbed a career-high 10 rebounds and was two points shy of his first-ever double-double.


Niagara will look to carry tonight's momentum to Detroit as the Purple Eagles will continue play in the Legends Classic with three games over the weekend, starting on Friday versus Bowling Green at 5 p.m.