Niagara (11-8) at Siena (4-15)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, January 25, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Times Union Center (17,500) -- Albany, New York. Television: TWCSN. Home Record: Niagara 8-1. Siena 2-6. Away Record: Niagara 3-6, Siena 1-8. Neutral Record: Niagara 0-1, Siena 1-1. Conference Record: Niagara 7-1, Siena 2-6. Series Record: Niagara leads, 45-43.
GAMES NOTES: The conference leading Niagara Purple Eagles will invade the Times Union Center on Friday night for a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference bout with the struggling Siena Saints.
After a 64-50 win at home over Manhattan, the Purple Eagles have won four straight contests and six of their last seven. Six of those victories have come in league play where Niagara is 7-1, giving it sole possession of first place in the MAAC. Overall Niagara is 11-8 on the season, including just a 3-6 mark on the road. This is the first half of a two-game road trip for the Purples Eagles that wraps up at cross-town rival Canisius.
After earning consecutive victories for the first time this season, Siena has fallen back into the loss column in the last two contests after a 76-44 setback to Canisius. The Saints are just 4-15 overall, with that including just a 2-6 mark against league foes. Siena hasn't exactly been formidable at home where it has a record of just 2-6. The Saints hit the road next to face off with Marist.
This is the second game in just a week between these squads as they also faced off last Thursday. That contest ended in an 87-64 victory for the Purple Eagles, who now lead the all-time series, 45-43.
Niagara needed a late rally to overcome Manhattan. The Purple Eagles were down 57-52 with a little less than six minutes remaining but managed to rip off an 9-2 run over the next five minutes to grab a three-point lead they would never relinquish.
Led by a powerful backcourt trio Niagara has been scoring at an exceptional rate this season. The Purple Eagles are the second-best scoring team in the conference (74.2 ppg), while shooting at a 43-percent clip. If there is a weakness for Niagara it is on the defensive end where the Purple Eagles are letting up 72.4 points per game on 45.7 percent shooting. Antoine Mason (18.4 ppg, 4.5 rpg) is the leading scorer on the squad, while Juan'ya Green (16.2 ppg, 4.6 apg) and Ameen Tanksley (10.6 ppg, 5.7 rpg) have also been consistent contributors out of the backcourt. Mason ranks third in the conference in scoring, while Green is among the top 10 in assists, points and steals. The Purple Eagles don't get much from the frontcourt with starting center Devon White (6.1 ppg, 5.3 rpg) one of just four frontcourt players on the roster.
It was yet another abysmal offensive showing from Siena in its loss to Canisius. The Saints shot just 32.7 percent overall with Rich Audu netted 11 points but needed 14 shots to do so. Turnovers were a huge problem in the loss as the Saints coughed the ball up 20 times, while assisting on just nine field goals.
The offensive end of the floor has proved to be a real puzzle for Siena. The Saints rank at the bottom of the conference in scoring (57.8), assists (9.8 pg) and field-goal percentage (.386). Each one of those marks is among the 20 worst in the nation. Depth is part of the issue as the Saints have four starters scoring in double figures but no other players scoring more than five points a contest. Double-double machine O.D. Anosike (13.0 ppg, 11.6 rpg) has been the lone bright spot on the roster although he has just one double-double in the last five games.
Niagara didn't have any problem handling Siena last week. The result this time around should be similar, as the Purple Eagles have more than enough firepower to get the job done.
Sports NEtwork Predicted Outcome: Niagara 79, Siena 61
01/25 10:31:28 ET