Monmouth 85, Niagara 74
How Niagara lost: Monmouth coach King Rice says he hates when coaches switch to zone when they primarily play man-to-man but that’s exactly what he did against Niagara. The hope was to slow down Antoine Mason from driving to the basket, drawing fouls and marching to the free throw line. It worked to an extent – Mason was 14 of 15 from the line – but he took only 12 shots and made four.
Turning Point: Monmouth led 35-32 at halftime then pounced on Niagara with a 10-0 run to start the half. Player of the Game: No one really stood out as the Hawks had four players in double figures but let’s give it to Deon Jones who had 14 points, six rebounds and two steals.
What It Means: Niagara fell to 1-4 in MAAC play with Rider coming up Sunday then four of its next five games on the road. Not good.
Stat Check: Niagara had 20 turnovers and just eight assists.
Stat Check II: Purple Eagles were just 3 of 13 from long distance.
Familiar face: Niagara reserve Marcus Ware played four seasons at Monmouth (2009-13) and averaged 6.7 points and four rebounds. He had six points and four rebounds on Friday.
In the House: 1,053 at the Gallagher Center.
He said it: “When know when we get down we have to fight or we’re going to lose. When the game is up in the air we think we can coast through it and just play lackadaisical and think that we’re still going to be OK.” – Niagara guard Tahjere McCall
Next Up: The Purple Eagles host Rider at 2 p.m. Sunday. Rider lost a wild double overtime game at Canisius on Friday.
--- Rodney McKissic