Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — The Niagara men’s basketball team, the No. 1 seed in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament, punched its ticket to the semifinals with a 74-62 win over No. 9-seed Siena on Saturday afternoon in Springfield, Mass.
Sophomores Antoine Mason and Juan’ya Green led the way for the Purple Eagles (19-12, 13-5) offensively. Mason finished with 21 points, going 10 for 10 at the free throw line, and Green chipped in 15. The two combined for 10 steals in the game.
“We found a way to win. I don’t think it was our best game we played all year. Guys made plays when they had to and we are just happy to be one of four teams to be around (today)” said Niagara head coach Joe Mihalich in a release. The Purps advance to their 10th semifinal appearance during his tenure.
NU forced 20 Siena (8-24, 4-14) turnovers which led to 32 points for the Purple Eagles, marking the eighth time this season Niagara has forced at least 20 turnovers.
The Purple Eagles got going early in the game, led by Mason, who drained a 3-pointer eight minutes in to ignite a 11-3 NU run that lasted almost four minutes.
The Purps took a 32-31 advantage into the locker room, but would build a double-digit lead right out of the gates in the second half. Siena would close the gap with 11:27 left at 44-42, but NU made timely baskets and came up with enough stops on the defensive end to hold off the Saints.
NU went 22 of 27 from the charity stripe as a team in the game.
Niagara faces Iona today at 2:30 p.m. in a semifinal showdown. The Gaels eliminated Canisius on Saturday, 89-85, to advance. Tip is set for 2 p.m. and can be seen on ESPN3.
For the third year in a row, the Niagara women’s basketball team’s season ended with a playoff loss to Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference power Marist.