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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, December 8, 2 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Gallagher Center (2,100) -- Niagara, New York. Television: None. Home Record: Saint Peter's 1-1, Niagara 1-1. Away Record: Saint Peter's 1-4, Niagara 0-5. Neutral Record: Saint Peter's 0-0, Niagara 0-2. Conference Record: Saint Peter's 0-1, Niagara 0-1. Series Record: Niagara leads, 46-28.
GAME NOTES: Two teams hoping to rebound from defeat in their Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference debuts two nights ago get together at the Gallagher Center this afternoon, as the Niagara Purple Eagles entertain the Peacocks of Saint Peter's.
Niagara has been brutal through the first month of the 2013-14 campaign, winning just one of nine outings, that being a 92-81 triumph versus Buffalo on Nov. 13 at home. Most recently the Purple Eagles, who are playing just their third home date of the season today, matched up against Siena in their own building two nights ago and were taken down in an 84-71 final, marking the seventh consecutive defeat for the program.
Over on the other side, the Peacocks saw their losing streak extended to two games on Friday night when they bowed to Canisius on the road in the conference opener, 82-67. Saint Peter's is just 1-4 away from home this season.
The series between these teams stretches back to the 1937-38 campaign and favors the Purple Eagles by a count of 46-28. Niagara has won the last four encounters, including a 78-61 final back in March.
Part of the problem for the Peacocks on Friday night was that there was just one starter who scored in double figures as Marvin Dominique dialed up 25 points, on 9-of-13 shooting from the floor, to go with his team-best 10 rebounds. The other four starters combined to contribute 20 points in total. Vic Adams came off the bench to produce 13 points for a unit that shot a decent 46.3 percent from the field, but only 33.3 percent behind the 3-point line.
A 51.0 percent shooter from the floor, who is only 28.6 percent accurate out on the perimeter, Dominique is the top scorer overall for the Peacocks with his 19.3 ppg, almost double what his closest teammate is putting up (Desi Washington, 10.3 ppg). As a group, Saint Peter's has been bedeviled in the scoring department thus far with 66.6 ppg, but has been allowing a more healthy 70.6 ppg to the competition.
Against Siena a few nights back, the biggest issue for the Purple Eagles was that they missed on all 13 of their 3-point tries, compared to the visitors who were 5-of-10 beyond the arc. Antoine Mason led the offense for the hosts with 18 points, followed by Rayvon Harris who dropped in 15 points off the bench before fouling out. Ramone Snowden tacked on 11 points and seven rebounds as the team played without Marvin Jordan for the final 9:55 of the second half after he picked up his second technical foul.
Despite the horrendous start for Niagara as a group, the team still boasts one of the most aggressive scorers in the entire nation in Mason who is producing a hefty 28.8 ppg. He is shooting only 24.5 percent beyond the arc, but has been churning out points at the free-throw line where he is 87-of-113, which means he has made twice as many opportunities than all but one of his teammates has had chances through nine games. Snowden checks in with 10.1 ppg, but he too struggles on the outside (.207), as well as everywhere else on the floor (.371).
The Purple Eagles are producing an impressive 80.3 ppg, but that matters little when the defense is allowing 89.9 ppg and has not held a single opponent below 80 points. However, if Mason gets on a roll the Peacocks might not be able to keep up.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Niagara 85, Saint Peter's 69
12/08 10:45:31 ET