Iona (13-8) at Niagara (6-17)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, February 7, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Gallagher Center (2,400) -- Niagara University, New York. Television: LCTV. Home Record: Iona 8-2, Niagara 4-4. Away Record: Iona 5-6, Niagara 1-11. Neutral Record: Iona 0-0, Niagara 1-2. Conference Record: Iona 10-2, Niagara 3-9. Series Record: Iona leads, 40-34.
GAME NOTES: The Iona Gaels have won five consecutive games, and they'll seek a sixth as they travel to face the Niagara Purple Eagles in Metro Athletic Atlantic Conference play at Gallagher Center.
Iona is currently tied with Canisius at 10-2 atop the MAAC standings. The Gaels are coming off an 89-71 victory over Monmouth after a postponed game Monday forced the contest to Tuesday night.
Niagara has lost two in a row and four of its last five in MAAC play, including a 78-64 defeat at the hands of Marist Saturday. The Purple Eagles are tied with Saint Peter's at 3-9 in the conference, which is second to last and seven games behind Iona and Canisius.
The Gaels lead the all-time series with Niagara, 40-34. That lead includes a high-scoring 118-92 Iona victory back on Jan. 4 of this season.
Iona jumped ahead of Monmouth at the end of the first half and led, 40-33, as the teams broke for the intermission. Then the Gaels came out firing in the second half, racking up 49 points to the Hawks' 38 and snagging the easy double-digit victory in conference play. Sean Armand led all scorers in the game with 22 points on 8-of-10 shooting from the floor. David Laury came off the bench to record a double-double, scoring 21 points and notching 12 rebounds. Isaiah Williams netted 17 points and A.J. English chipped in 14 in the victory.
Armand and English has separated themselves from the rest of the Iona pack in terms of scoring this season. Armand leads the team with an 18.5 ppg average on 48.1 percent shooting from the floor, while English tallies 17.4 ppg. The two players are the one-two punch in total assists, as English leads with 86 and Armand is close behind at 80. Tre Bowman and Laury are third and fourth on the team in scoring, notching 13.3 ppg and 13.1 ppg, respectively. Laury is the team's leading rebounder at 7.3 rpg.
Niagara hung tough with Marist in the first half of the Purple Eagles' last outing, as the Red Foxes went into the half with a three-point lead. But some shooting woes set in for Niagara in the second half, highlighted by a 1-of-8 performances from 3-point range in the frame. Antoine Mason led the Purple Eagles with 19 points in the losing effort, while Marcus Ware tallied 14 and Marvin Jones chipped in 12. Niagara shot 38.7 percent from the floor in the game.
As of the start of this week, Mason, with a 26.6 ppg average, is the leading scorer in the nation in Division I men's basketball. He's the only player for the Purple Eagles averaging point totals in the double digits this season. Mason is connecting on 44.4 percent of his shots from the field in 23 games played. Ware leads the team in rebounding this season with 5.4 rpg, and Jones paces the squad with 49 assists. Despite one player averaging over 10 ppg, the Purple Eagles are still scoring an average of 76.2 ppg.
Niagara is also giving up 82.9 ppg to its opponents, so Iona can easily take advantage of that poor scoring defense. The Gaels already dropped 118 points on Niagara earlier this season, so another high-scoring contest can be expected.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Iona 87, Niagara 74
02/07 10:16:52 ET