Siena 84, Niagara 71
How Siena Won: In the words of Saints coach Jimmy Patsos, the Saints made it a priority to "engage" Antoine Mason whenever the nation's leading scorer touched the ball. The in-your-face approach limited Mason's dribble-penetration and made Niagara look elsewhere for points. Rayvon Harris stepped up but Purple Eagles needed more.
Turning Point: The game was tied at 26 after a Niagara rally but the Saints went on a 21-9 run to end the half, opening a 12-point lead that was never seriously threatened.
Player of the Game: I've always like Rob Poole's game and the Siena junior guard could be in for a big season given the Saints' size and physicality up front. He struck for 21 points, going 4 of 6 from three.
Stat Check: The final stats say Niagara outscored Siena 46-38 in the paint. How so? Niagara was down 26-18 in the paint at halftime. They scored 36 second-half points. Eight of those came at the free throw line.
Stat Check II: Niagara went 0 for 13 from three. Momma said there'd be nights like that.
Minutes Made: Joe Thomas barely saw the floor in the first half but had four points, four blocks and six boards in the second half. Niagara could have used him when Siena was having its way underneath early.
What It Means: Niagara's losing streak hit seven with a loss in the MAAC opener. Its only victory this season? UB.
In the House: They're taking a wait-and-see approach to Chris Casey's tenure on The Ridge. There were 1,442 on hand, about 1,000 under capacity.
What's Next: Niagara entertains Saint Peter's Sunday afternoon while Siena motors down the road to Canisius.
-- Bob DiCesare
taggedCollege basketball | Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference | Niagara