FACTS & STATS: Site: Gallagher Center (2,100) -- Niagara University, New York. Television: LCTV. Home Record: SPC 5-8, NU 10-4. Away Record: SPC 4-10, NU 7-7. Neutral Record: SPC 0-1, NU 0-1. Conference Record: SPC 3-14, NU 12-5. Series Record: Niagara leads, 45-28.
GAME NOTES: With the possibility of winning the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference regular-season crown, the Niagara Purple Eagles welcome the Saint Peter's Peacocks to legendary 'Taps' Gallagher Center.
Saint Peter's is 2-4 in its last six games, and the team recently suffered a 77-65 overtime loss to Canisius. The Peacocks are 0-8 in road conference games this season.
Niagara is also coming off a Thursday night defeat, falling in a 68-59 final at home to Rider. Despite the setback, Niagara can clinch the MAAC regular- season title with a win on Saturday.
NU handled the Peacocks in the first meeting of the season on Jan. 11, 77-58. The Purple Eagles swept the season series last year, and they have won nine of the last 13 meetings between the two, including season sweeps in 2006-07, 2007-08 and 2008-09.
Canisius scored 16 of the final 18 points in overtime to down Saint Peter's on Thursday. Desi Washington fueled the Peacocks' effort with 18 points, while Yvon Raymond added 16 points and eight rebounds, and Darius Conley tacked on 14 points in the loss. Raymond tied the game at 61-61 with a 19.2 seconds left in regulation and the Peacocks had a chance to win the game at the buzzer, but senior Blaise Ffrench's jumper bounced off the front of the rim to send the game to overtime. Raymond scored the opening basket in the extra session at 4:30 for the Peacocks, but Canisius scored the next six points and 16 of the final 18 to earn the victory.
Washington leads the team in scoring with 15.0 ppg, despite hitting only 37.3 percent of his field goal attempts. Raymond adds 10.3 points and 5.1 rebounds per game to the mix, while Ffrench deals out 4.7 assists and logs 1.5 steals per tilt. As a unit, the Peacocks score 60.0 ppg but allows 65.7 ppg, giving them the second-worst scoring margin in the MAAC. They are at or near the bottom of the league in free-throw percentage (.598), field goal percentage (.411), 3-point field goals made (5.0 per game) and rebounding (31.7 rpg).
Juan'ya Green's game-high 27 points were not enough to lead the Niagara Purple Eagles over the hump as they dropped a nine-point decision to Rider on Thursday to snap a three-game winning streak.
Antoine Mason leads the Purple Eagles in scoring with 18.4 ppg this season, shooting better than 45.0 percent from the field. Green adds 17.2 ppg and Ameen Tanksley contributes 11.1 ppg. Tanksley is the team's leader on the boards with 6.0 rpg. The Purple Eagles put up 73.8 ppg (second-best in the MAAC), but also allow more than 72.1 ppg (second-worst). They are last in the league in field goal defense (.448).
With the opportunity to clinch the MAAC regular season title, expect the Purple Eagles to turn on the offense and get the job done.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Niagara 75, Saint Peter's 62
03/02 10:59:51 ET
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