Manhattan (16-6) at Niagara (6-18)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, February 9, 2 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Gallagher Center (2,400) -- Niagara, New York. Television: LCTV. Home Record: Manhattan 6-3, Niagara 5-5. Away Record: Manhattan 9-3, Niagara 1-11. Neutral Record: Manhattan 1-0, Niagara 0-2. Conference Record: Manhattan 9-4, Niagara 3-10. Series Record: Manhattan leads, 45-30.
GAME NOTES: Shooting for their 10th true road win of the season, the Manhattan Jaspers match up against the Niagara Purple Eagles in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference play at the Gallagher Center this afternoon.
The Jaspers are also trying to register a third straight win after taking care of Saint Peter's back on Tuesday, 64-49, and then besting Canisius on the road two nights ago, 84-73. Manhattan is now an impressive 9-4 in conference play.
Meanwhile, the Purple Eagles are a team that opened the 2013-14 campaign with just one win through the first nine games. They've managed to turn it around somewhat with five victories since then, but still the program is 12 games below .500 and dealing with a three-game slide after bowing to Iona on Friday night, 90-89.
The Jaspers are on top in the all-time series by a count of 45-30, although Niagara swept the season series in 2012-13, and has taken 13 of the last 17 encounters overall. The teams are also set to meet up one week from now at Draddy Gym.
Manhattan scored the first points of the night against the Golden Griffins on Friday and never looked back, converting 51.7 percent from the floor and 11- of-22 behind the 3-point line in order to combat 20 turnovers. George Beamon was the top scorer for the Jaspers with 27 points, followed by Ashton Pankey with a double-double consisting of 16 points and a game-high 11 rebounds, not to mention five blocked shots. Shane Richards and Michael Alvarado pitched in with 14 and 11 points, respectively.
Although he has missed three games this season, Beamon continues to be the main focus of the offense for the Jaspers with his 18.9 ppg, stepping up to collect a team-high 6.9 rpg as well. Alvarado contributes another 13.6 ppg and, while he may be shooting only 27.6 percent behind the 3-point line, he has tried to balance that with a team-best 95 assists and 36 steals over the course of 22 starts.
Niagara led by as many as 12 points against Iona the last time out, but a late push by the Gaels was capped by a 3-pointer in the final moments to steal away the one-point decision. Ramone Snowden registered a double-double for the hosts with 18 points and 10 rebounds, while Rayvon Harris turned in a similar effort with 14 points and 12 boards off the bench. Wesley Myers tacked on 16 points, Antoine Mason 13 and Tahjere McCall 12 points and seven boards in the setback.
Mason continues to be one of the top offensive threats in the nation this season with his 26.0 ppg, connecting on 43.9 percent of his field goal tries and a staggering 198-of-270 at the free-throw line. Unfortunately, with Mason playing 37.2 minutes per game and handling the ball as much as he does, that doesn't leave many opportunities for teammates to claim their place in the spotlight. Add to that a defense that is giving up an incredible 83.2 ppg and it is easy to see why wins are hard to come by.
If Mason can get as much support as he did the other night against Iona and also play more along the lines of his capabilities, Niagara will at least have a chance in this meeting, but not much of one.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Manhattan 77, Niagara 72
02/09 10:15:51 ET