The Purple Eagles scored the first five points of the game, in what was a sloppy first four minutes of play. Juan’ya Green led the Purple Eagles in scoring in the first half with 8 points. The sophomore guard made a pair of three-pointers in the opening half. Niagara as a team went 7–16 from behind the three point line, at one point helping the team open up an eleven point lead over the Bison.
Bucknell would make several scoring runs in the first, but each time the Purple Eagles answered. Niagara went on an 8-0 run late in the half, but the visitors scored 9 of the final 11 points of the half to narrow the gap to five points. The Bison shot 41.9% (13-31) from the field in the first and 35.7% (5-14) from behind the arc. Niagara was slightly better in both categories, going 45.5% (15-33) overall from the field and 43.8% (7-16) from behind the three point line. Niagara held a narrow 20-19 lead in rebounding after the first twenty minutes. Each team grabbed six offensive rebounds in the half.
The Bison opened the second half by scoring the first eight points to take their first lead of the night. Niagara trailed the visitors 46-43 just three minutes into the second half. While the Purple Eagles struggled from the field Bucknell added to their lead, reaching 49-43 partway through the half. Ameen Tanksley’s three point jumper more than six minutes into the half were the first points for Niagara in the second.
The Purple Eagles went just 4-18 from the field to open the half, and at one point had missed all nine of their shots in the second, before getting on the scoreboard. The deficit reached eleven, before Antoine Mason hit a pair of free throws to bring the team within nine points. Niagara would get as close as seven, but could not close the gap any further.
Green, Tanksley, and Mason all finished the night in double digits scoring, combining for 39 of the team’s 71 points. The Purple Eagles host New Mexico State on Sunday at 4 o’clock as part of the 2K Sports Classic. You can listen to the play-by-play on our sister station, WWKB-1520am.