NIAGARA UNIV., N.Y. – (Niagara Release) The Niagara men’s basketball team dropped an 87-70 contest to the Manhattan Jaspers in the National MAAC Game of the Week on ESPN3 on Sunday at the Gallagher Center.
“I really can’t explain today,” head coach Joe Mihalich said. “There are two things you deal with in life – failure and success and I don’t think we are dealing with either one the right way.”
Three Purple Eagles (9-14, 4-7 MAAC) were in double figures, but the Niagara offense was inconsistent against the one of the MAAC’s top defensive team. An evenly played first half, which had eight lead changes, quickly turned in favor of the visitors when they went on a 9-2 run to build a 31-22 lead with 2:37 left; Manhattan (16-7, 9-2 MAAC) head into the half up 38-30.
A pair of free throws by Juan’ya Green cut the lead to 40-33 with 18:15 remaining, but the Purple Eagles were playing uphill for the rest of the game. Manhattan, shot 62 percent from the field and led by as much as 21 in the half, saw its lead trim to 11 after consecutive 3-pointers by Marvin Jordan at 8:44. However that would the closet the Purple and White would get on an evening when Niagara Athletics unveiled the new banners for Niagara legends Calvin Murphy (1966-70) and Phil Scaffidi (1975-80) during the game.
Juan'ya Green led NU with 18 points and went 9-for-11 at the free-throw line to set a freshman single-season record with 102 free throws, surpassing Garry Jordan’s 99 free throws set in 1978. Antoine Mason had 17 points and had a game-high five assists, while Jordan added 16 points off the bench. Ameen Tanksley led the team in rebounding for the second straight game, bringing down eight boards.
“January is over...What we do around here is win in February but we won’t if we don’t change,” Mihalich said.
Niagara opens the month of February with two road MAAC games, beginning on Friday, Feb. 3 to face Fairfield at 7:30 p.m.