Siena (2-7) at Niagara (1-7)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, December 6, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Gallagher Center (2,400) -- Lewiston, New York. Television: TWC Sports. Home Record: Siena 1-1, Niagara 1-0. Away Record: Siena 1-3, Niagara 0-5. Neutral Record: Siena 0-3, Niagara 0-2. Conference Record: Siena 0-0, Niagara 0-0. Series Record: Niagara leads, 47-43.
GAME NOTES: Two struggling Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference squads will try to find their footing in league play, as the Siena Saints visit the Niagara Purple Eagles at the Gallagher Center.
Last weekend the Saints were tied up in the Old Spice Classic in Orlando. The trip did not end well for Siena, which lost all four of its bouts in the event, including a 68-63 setback against Purdue on Sunday. Those four losses dropped the Saints to 2-7 on the campaign, with the two victories coming by three points combined. Siena is on the road against Canisius next.
Niagara has seen even less success this season. The Purple Eagles have already checked eight games off the schedule and have just a single win to show for it. The most recent disappointment was an 86-61 loss to Arkansas State, which was the sixth straight setback for Niagara. Next up the Purple Eagles will host Saint Peter's.
These conference foes battled it out three times last year and Niagara won each contest, including a 74-62 triumph during the MAAC Tournament. The Purple Eagles have won six of the last eight meetings overall to take a 47-43 in the all-time series.
Siena ran out to a 43-30 lead at halftime against Purdue but crumbled in the second half against the Boilermakers. During the final 20 minutes the Saints only had six field goals and hit 22.2 percent of their attempts from the floor. Siena was also outscored, 36-22, in the paint.
Shooting the ball efficiently has not been a strength for the Saints, who are putting in only 39.9 percent of their field goal tries, while netting 67.4 points per game. Rob Poole (14.2 ppg, 6.2 rpg) is one of a few reliable scoring options for the team. Poole had a solid game against Purdue before fouling out, hitting 5-of-6 shots from the floor while scoring 17 points and collecting eight rebounds. Poole has scored in double figures in seven games this season and has a pair of 20-point efforts. Evan Hymes (10.6 ppg) is the only other player scoring in double figures.
Niagara didn't even have the benefit of one solid half against Arkansas State. The Purple Eagles hit only 31.7 percent of their attempts from the floor, while being outscored, 22-5, in points off turnovers. Antoine Mason netted 20 points but hit on just 6-of-17 field goal attempts.
For most players, scoring 20 points would be considered a high point on the campaign. Not for Mason. The 6-foot-3 guard is leading the country in scoring (30.0 ppg). In fact, the 20 points he scored against Arkansas State were a season low. Unfortunately for Niagara, Mason's ability to fill it up has not done anything about its inability to make stops. The Purple Eagles are being lit up for 90.6 points per game on 51.3 percent shooting. Mason also doesn't receive much help from the rest of the rotation as Ramone Snowden (10 ppg) and Marvin Jordan (10 ppg) add limited support.
Returning home should allow Mason to get back into a groove. That hasn't led to many wins this year, but it should on Friday.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Niagara 81, Siena 75
12/06 10:31:39 ET