Niagara (2-2) vs. St. Bonaventure (2-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 24, 4 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Blue Cross Arena (11,200) -- Rochester, New York.. Television: None. Home Record: Niagara 2-1, St. Bonaventure 1-0. Away Record: Niagara 0-1, St. Bonaventure 1-1. Neutral Record: Niagara 0-0, St. Bonaventure 0-0. Conference Record: Niagara 0-0, St. Bonaventure 0-0. Series Record: St. Bonaventure Leads, 82-68.
GAME NOTES: Long-time rivals from the Empire State get together on Saturday afternoon, as the Niagara Purple Eagles and St. Bonaventure head to Rochester for a non-conference meeting at Blue Cross Arena.
The Purple Eagles are shooting for back-to-back wins for the first time this season when they hit the floor today, having recently defeated New Mexico State, 86-83, as part of the 2K Sports Classic last weekend at home. The other win for the program came against St. Francis (PA) on Nov. 13 by an 86-69 score.
Meanwhile, the Bonnies began the 2012-13 campaign with a pair of victories over Bethune-Cookman (65-55) and Cornell (72-68), before suffering a 72-69 loss against Canisius on the road last weekend.
As far as the all-time series is concerned, the Bonnies have it listed as 82-68 in their favor, although Niagara has taken home eight of the last nine decisions. However, the eight-game win streak for Purple Eagles came to an end last year when St. Bonaventure captured a narrow 72-70 verdict.
The Bonnies had four players score in double figures as the team shot 50 percent from the floor and 9-of-22 behind the three-point line, but still that wasn't enough to overcome 19 turnovers and an 18-8 scoring deficit at the free-throw line. Chris Johnson led the way for St. Bonaventure with 19 points, followed by Eric Mosley and Demitrius Conger with 14 points apiece, while Matthew Wright tacked on 13 points even though he missed all four of his shots from beyond the arc. Johnson has spearheaded the offense to this point with his 15.7 ppg, shooting an impressive 63.0 percent from the floor, and yet the team overall is converting 45.4 percent. Conger (13.3 ppg) has been a bit sloppy with the ball, resulting in 11 turnovers, but he has made up for that by pacing the group with six rebounds per outing.
Juan'ya Green scored 28 points, leading four players in double figures, as the Purple Eagles figured out a way to slip by New Mexico State by three points in the most recent outing at the Gallagher Center last weekend. Green made good on 10-of-17 shots from the floor, including 3-of-6 beyond the arc, while Antoine Mason contributed another 19 points and pulled down seven boards and making three steals. Marvin Jordan and Scooter Gillette also got in on the act with 15 and 10 points, respectively, the latter adding six rebounds in 19 minutes off the bench. Even though he had a huge effort against the Aggies, Green is scoring 18.0 ppg after four contests. Perhaps just as impressive as his scoring potential is the fact that Green also has 25 assists and only eight turnovers. Mason (17.0 ppg) and Jordan (10.0 ppg) are both shooting under 31.0 percent behind the three-point line, yet remain key offensive figures.
Niagara's defense needs to tighten up in a big way, particularly behind the three-point line where they are allowing opponents to shoot 45.6 ppg. As long as Green is on his game though, and the offense produces for the Purple Eagles, they should come away with the win.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Niagara 78, St. Bonaventure 72
11/24 10:38:30 ET