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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, January 24, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Gallagher Center (2,400) -- Niagara University, New York. Television: TWC. Home Record: Marist 5-3, Niagara 4-4. Away Record: Marist 1-6, Niagara 1-9. Neutral Record: Marist 0-3, Niagara 0-2. Conference Record: Marist 3-5, Niagara 2-7. Series Record: Niagara leads, 22-15.
GAME NOTES: The Niagara Purple Eagles return home to the Gallagher Center on Friday night, as they play host to the Marist Red Foxes in a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference bout.
Marist had lost three straight games prior to its most recent victory on Monday night, when it took downed Saint Peter's at home, 70-63. The Red Foxes are still just 6-12 overall, including 3-5 in the MAAC, and they've been especially bad on the road, losing six of seven.
With Niagara's 87-74 loss at Canisius on Wednesday night, it has now dropped back-to-back contests and six of its last season to slip to 5-15 overall and 2-7 in league play. The Purple Eagles haven't found much solace at the Gallagher Center either, going just 4-4 at home.
In regards to the all-time series, Niagara leads Marist by a 22-15 count, which includes wins in both matchups last season.
The Red Foxes trailed by nine to Saint Peter's early in the second half of their latest game before putting it in gear, and thanks partially to a 12-2 run later in the frame, they were able to pull away for the victory. They shot less than 40 percent from the field on the evening and lost the rebounding battle, 41-33, but the difference came at the free-throw line, where they outscored the Peacocks, 27-12. Adam Kemp led the way by posting a double- double with 18 points and 11 rebounds, while Khallid Hart (15 points), Chavaughn Lewis (14) and T.J. Curry (10) were also impressive.
On the season, Marist has disappointed on both ends of the floor, shooting a lowly 38.8 percent from the field for 63.5 ppg while allowing 70.3 ppg on 45 percent shooting. Lewis makes good on only 38.4 percent of his field goal tries and has nearly twice as many turnovers (65) as assists (34), but he generates enough volume to lead the team in scoring (16.6 ppg). Hart (13.5 ppg) and Bowie (10.3 ppg) are also solid scorers, while Kemp (8.7 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 2.0 bpg) mans the paint.
The Purple Eagles fell behind Canisius by 14 points at intermission earlier in the week, and while they were able to improve their field-goal shooting from 40 percent in the first stanza to 53.1 in the second, it wasn't nearly enough to overcome their deficit, especially considering they shot a dreadful 7-of-16 from the free-throw line on the night. Antoine Mason was stellar as usual with 29 points on 11-of-19 from the field, including 4-of-7 from 3-point range. Marvin Jordan also drained four long-range buckets on his way to 19 points, Rayvon Harris chipped in 10 points and Marcus Ware hauled in 10 rebounds.
Despite Niagara's impressive scoring offense this season (77.3 ppg), it is held back by allowing 84.4 ppg, which ranks 346th out of 351 qualifying Division I teams. Mason is the nation's leading scorer at 27.7 ppg. He shoots 45.6 percent from the field and is the country's most active free-throw shooter (179-of-239). No one else nets in double figures but Jordan (9.5 ppg), Ramone Snowden (8.9 ppg, 5.5 rpg) and Tahjere McCall (7.8 ppg) have all been solid.
Something has to give in this matchup between two struggling teams. Figure for Niagara to have the advantage on its home floor.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Niagara 82, Marist 79
01/24 10:32:00 ET
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