Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — It was certainly a tale of two halves for the Niagara men’s basketball team Saturday, as the Purple Eagles fell into a 26-point deficit at halftime and finished the game losing by that many points, falling 118-92 at Iona.
After the Gaels’ Mike Poole hit a jumper to open the scoring just 18 seconds into the contest, Niagara (4-11 overall, 1-3 MAAC) responded with Tajhere McCall’s layup to tie the game at 2-2. That was the last time Niagara would be tied with Iona (6-6 overall, 3-0 MAAC), as the hosts first went up 3-2 with a free throw 1:24 into the first half then used a layup by Poole to build the lead to 5-2.
Niagara would tie the game at 5-5, but Iona then went on a 19-4 run that had the Purple Eagles trailing 24-9 lead with 11:45 left in the first half.
The Gaels shot 75 percent from the field in the first half and scored 16 of their points on nine Niagara turnovers. Iona continued to slowly pull away and at halftime, were up 62-36.
Niagara fouls also fueled Iona’s lead, with the team committing nine infractions in the opening half. Joe Thomas and Marcus Ware committed two each by the first intermission.
Three-point baskets helped Iona pad their lead, with the Gaels sinking eight of them in the first half alone. Sean Armand and Tre Bowman both finished the game with four 3-pointers, with DaShawn Gomez going 3 for 4 from 3-point range for the hosts.
Niagara, meanwhile, was cold beyond the arc in the first half, with Marvin Jordan scoring the Purple Eagles’ only 3-pointer in the first 20 minutes. He missed three other attempts, while the team collectively went just 1 for 8 from three-point territory in the opening half.
The second half was a different story. Freshman Ramone Snowden hit four 3-pointers and finished the game as the Purple Eagles’ leading scorer with a career-high 23 points, going 9 for 15 from the field. His last score came with 22 seconds remaining, a slam dunk.
Antoine Mason was second in team scoring with 22 points, going 9 for 18 from the field, missing twice from behind the arc but also sinking four of five foul shots.
The Purple Eagles went on a 19-13 run in the first five minutes of the second half but couldn’t cut their deficit any closer than 20 points. Niagara did, however, tie Iona in second half scoring with 56 points each, a season-high for the Purple Eagles in scoring in one period.
Niagara returns home to host two MAAC matchups beginning with Monmouth on Friday, beginning at 7 p.m. in the Gallagher Center, followed by a home game against Rider next Sunday at 2 p.m.
Women host Iona today
The Niagara women’s basketball team, fresh off a big 78-46 win at home against Saint Peter’s on Friday, hosts Iona this afternoon at 2 p.m.
Niagara (3-9) improved its MAAC record to 1-2 with Friday’s win. The Gaels are 10-2 overall and unbeaten in the MAAC so far at 3-0.