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Niagara-Manhattan Game Analysis

Game analysis: Niagara came back in the final four minutes and did one very key thing -- make free throws -- to earn a 64-40 win over Manhattan in the Gallagher Center.

How Niagara won: The Purple Eagles adjusted to a solid defense from Manhattan. Without being able to handle their pressure well or get in an offensive rhythm, they started to drive and be aggressive around the rim. That led to foul calls. A lot of them. And that led to free throws. Niagara shot 38 of 49 from the free throw line.

Turning Point: With the Jaspers clinging to a two-point lead with 2:55 left to play, Antoine Mason was called for a blocking foul (although it really did look like an illegal screen). The officials put Shane Richards on the line for the one-and-one and he made the first shot. Niagara was protesting the wrong guy was on the line. The officials checked the replay and agreed. The point came off the board and Roberto Colonette went to the line. He missed the front end. Momentum switched after that.

Player of the Game: Antoine Mason had a game-high 15 points and went 13 of 16 from the free throw line. This after going 1 for 5 from the field. That's not just good play in the game. That's a sign of growth as a player.

Key stat: Free throws. Niagara went 38 of 49. Manhattan went 13 of 20. The Jaspers were called for 28 fouls. Niagara for 18.

Balanced scoring: While Niagara had just four assists (then again they only had 12 field goals) four players hit double figures -- Mason (18), Ameen Tanksley (13), Tahjere McCall (12) and T.J. Cline (11). 

What It Means: Niagara continues its best start in the MAAC since 1998-99 improving to 7-1 and 11-8 overall.

In the House: 1,557

He said it: "I'm disappointed with the free throw differential tonight. I find that hard to take in college basketball. That doesn't take credit away from Niagara." -- Manhattan coach Steve Masiello. 

Up next: Niagara travels to Albany to meet Siena at 7 p.m. on Friday.

---Rodney McKissic

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About Campus Watch

Bob Dicesare

Bob DiCesare

Western New York native Bob DiCesare covers UB football, Big 4 basketball and writes an occasional column. He still holds a grudge against Chris Ford who, he's convinced, cost St. Bonaventure the 1970 NCAA basketball championship.

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Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has covered colleges for The Buffalo News since 1999. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

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