Niagara (13-17) at Marist (12-17)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, February 26th, 2:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: McCann Field House (2,998) -- Poughkeepsie, New York. Television: None. Home Record: Niagara 7-7, Marist 9-4. Away Record: Niagara 5-9, Marist 2-12. Neutral Record: 1-1, Marist 1-1. Conference Record: Niagara 8-9, Marist 6-11. Series Record: Niagara leads, 20-14.
GAME NOTES: The Niagara Purple Eagles and the Marist Red Foxes close out the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference regular season this afternoon when they square off at McCann Field House in Poughkeepsie, New York.
Niagara has had a sub par season overall at 13-17 and while it has fared slightly better in the MAAC at 8-9, it sits in sixth place in the standings. The Purple Eagles seem to be catching fire at the right time however, as they have won four of their last five games, including a 59-56 decision at Saint Peter's on Friday night.
Marist has followed a similar path as Niagara, winning 12 of 29 games overall and owning a conference mark of 6-11. The Red Foxes experienced an eight-game losing streak last month but have since rebounded by winning five of their last seven, with their latest victory coming over Siena on Thursday, 61-52. Despite its struggles this year, Marist has defended its home court well, going 9-4 at McCann Field House.
Niagara leads the all-time series with Marist, 20-14. The teams have split the last four meetings, with the Purple Eagles coming out on top in the most recent -- an 86-67 final at home on January 15.
Niagara had a brutal night shooting the ball on Friday, hitting the mark on just 11-of-43 attempts from the field (.256), but it was able to make up for it at the foul line by connecting on 30-of-38 free-throws. The defensive effort was the true catalyst for the Purple Eagles however, as they held Saint Peter's to only 37.3 percent overall shooting, which included a dismal 3-of-20 showing from three-point range, and it marked the third time in five games that they've held an opponent under 60 points. Juan'ya Green lifted the team offensively, scoring 23 points while hitting all 12 of his free-throws. The freshman has been stellar all season for the Purple Eagles, ranking third in the MAAC in scoring (17.1 ppg) and assists (4.3 apg). Antoine Mason is a competent scorer himself at 15.2 ppg, but he's only shooting 38.5 percent from the floor. Marvin Jordan rounds out the unit's double-digit scorers by adding 10.7 ppg, though he too struggles from the field (.353). The woes of some of its best scorers explains Niagara's lowly team field goal percentage of .404.
Marist was also fueled by some pretty stingy defense in its latest win, as the 52 points allowed to Siena on Thursday night were the fewest it has allowed to a conference opponent this season. The Red Foxes held the Saints to just 37.9 percent overall shooting, which included a 2-of-15 effort from beyond the arc, and they forced 14 turnovers which helped mask a sub par 37 percent shooting night on their behalf. Chavaughn Lewis led all scorers with 16 points and fell one rebound short of his first career double-double. Lewis leads the team in scoring in this, his freshman campaign, putting up 13.9 ppg while adding 4.6 rpg and 1.6 spg. Devin Price chips in with 13.3 ppg, and he leads the Red Foxes in three-pointers made (53). Adam Kamp tallies 8.7 ppg and a team-best 7.3 rpg.
Both teams have turned their fortunes around lately, but the Red Foxes have been consistently impressive on their home floor this season, sop give Marist the slight edge this afternoon.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Marist 68, Niagara 65
02/26 10:31:44 ET