Niagara (5-13) at Quinnipiac (10-6)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 18, 4 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: TD Bank Sports Center (3,300) -- Hamden, Connecticut.
Television: None. Home Record: Niagara 3-4, Quinnipiac 6-1. Away Record:
Niagara 1-7, Quinnipiac 3-5. Neutral Record: Niagara 1-2, Quinnipiac 1-0.
Conference Record: Niagara 2-5, Quinnipiac 5-2. Series Record: Quinnipiac
GAME NOTES: Having finally picked up their first true road win of the season,
the Niagara Purple Eagles try to make it two in a row this afternoon as they
clash with one of the newest members of the Metro Atlantic Athletic
Conference, the Bobcats of Quinnipiac.
Niagara went into their meeting at Fairfield having lost all seven true road
games on the season, but two nights ago that run came to an end with a 67-63
triumph in Bridgeport. The victory also served to stop a four-game losing
streak for a team that is now 2-5 in MAAC play, ahead of only winless
Fairfield in the standings.
As for the Bobcats, they captured their fourth win in five tries on Thursday
with a 70-61 decision against Monmouth, the other new addition to the MAAC.
With five wins in seven opportunities, Quinnipiac is now fourth in the
standings heading into the weekend.
The Bobcats won both previous encounters between these two programs, the most
recent coming on Dec. 11, 2011 in an 85-81 final.
Niagara knocked down 55.6 percent from the field in the first half against
Fairfield, yet trailed by a point at the break. Instead, it was the defense
for the Purple Eagles that turned the screws on the Stags, forcing 17
turnovers in a meeting that featured six ties and 17 lead changes. Ramone
Snowden led the offense with 18 points, followed by Antoine Mason with 15,
although the latter shot just 3-of-9 from the field.
Snowden has led the Purple Eagles in scoring in two of the last four outings,
but aside from those two anomalies, the offense has been under the direction
of Mason who has led the way in every other contest. Mason is now averaging a
massive 27.6 ppg, the top average in the nation by more than two points per
game ahead of Creighton's Doug McDermott. However, in conference games Mason
dips down to 24.4 ppg, enough of a difference to bring Niagara back to
Four starters scored in double figures for the Bobcats on Thursday night, led
by Umar Shannon with 16 points, to go along with five assists, but the star of
the show was Ousmane Drame who nearly pulled off a stunning triple-double as
he dropped in 15 points, cleared a staggering 21 rebounds and blocked seven
shots. Zaid Hearst responded with 15 points and Ike Azotam 10, while Shaq
Shannon supplied a game-high seven assists.
Somewhat surprisingly, Ousmane (12.4 ppg) is pulling down just 9.8 rpg at the
moment and, while that's still a great number, it is actually second on the
team behind Azotam who is clearing 11.3 ppg, to go along with his team-best
16.6 ppg. Throw Hearst (13.6 ppg) into the mix with his 7.8 rpg and it is easy
to see why the Bobcats not only lead the conference, but are also first in the
nation in rebounding margin at plus-13.1 rpg.
One of the most impressive stats for the Bobcats has them winning the
rebounding battle in 48 straight games, the longest active stretch in the
nation by far. Add to that the fact that Quinnipiac has won 12 of the last 13
games at TD Bank Sports Arena and it is tough to pick against the squad today.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Quinnipiac 81, Niagara 76
01/18 10:24:47 ET
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