Niagara (15-11) at Manhattan (10-15)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, February 17, 2 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Draddy Gymnasium (2,500) -- Riverdale, New York. Television: None. Home Record: Niagara 9-3, Manhattan 6-3. Away Record: Niagara 6-7, Manhattan 4-10. Neutral Record: Niagara 0-1, Manhattan 0-2. Conference Record: Niagara 11-4, Manhattan 8-7. Series Record: Niagara leads, 21-15.
GAME NOTES: The Niagara Purple Eagles hope to keep control of sole possession of first place in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference standings as they visit Draddy Gymnasium for a clash with the Manhattan Jaspers.
Niagara will be looking to complete the season series sweep of the Jaspers after it defeated Manhattan, 64-60, at home in the inaugural meeting of 2012-13. The victory gave the Purple Eagles a 21-15 all-time record versus Manhattan. Antoine Mason tallied 15 points for Niagara in the Jan. 19 matchup, but he is listed as questionable for Sunday due to an ankle injury.
The Purple Eagles snapped a three-game losing streak on Friday with a 57-54 win at Marist. The victory helped Niagara arrive at a 15-11 overall record including its 11-4 mark in MAAC play, which is just a half-game better than the Loyola-Maryland Greyhounds' second place standing. Mason paces the team with 18.9 ppg, but the Purple Eagles will have a pair of solid scoring options in Juan'ya Green (16.7 ppg, 5.0 apg) and Ameen Tanksley (11.5 ppg, 6.1 rpg) to turn to if he is unable to play.
Producing points has not been a problem for Niagara this season, but stopping the opposition has been an issue. The Purple Eagles are scoring the second most points per game (74.2) among MAAC teams, but surrendering nearly as many at 72.7 points a contest. The team's win over Marist was an unusually low- scoring affair as both squads limited their possessions by committing 19 turnovers each. Green scored a game-high 20 points, including the game-winning 3-pointer in the closing seconds, Marvin Jordan chipped in 10 points and Tahjere McCall brought in nine rebounds.
Niagara will have a tough test awaiting at Draddy Gymnasium as Manhattan is coming off a 74-73 overtime victory over Iona that gave the Jaspers their fourth win in a row. Junior forward Rhamel Brown delivered a big time effort posting 21 points, 17 rebounds and seven blocks while Emmy Andujar closed out the contest with a game winning layup. Andujar and Shane Richards tallied 15 points apiece to help the Jaspers improve to 10-15 on the campaign and 8-7 in league action.
Brown (12.0 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 3.1 bpg) has been the key piece for Manhattan on both ends of the floor. The 6-foot-7 forward is the only player scoring in double figures for Manhattan, while leading the MAAC in blocked shots. Michael Alvarado (8.5 ppg) is the next best scoring option, although he shoots just 37.3 percent from the field. Despite the recent surge, the Jaspers are second to last in the MAAC in scoring offense (59.1). They are however very good defensively with only 61.8 points allowed points per tilt.
Manhattan has defeated four of the six schools ahead of it in the MAAC standings already. The Purple Eagles have not been the same without Mason, but they may be able to steal one on the road if Green manages the offense more efficiently. The Jaspers may have trouble continuing their stellar play after their hard-fought, emotional victory on Friday.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Niagara 67, Manhattan 63
02/17 10:34:00 ET