Niagara University Purple Eagles
After the opening tip, a Power 5 school got an instant punch in the stomach as we sat in stunning Niagara Falls for the home opener against the Niagara University Purple Eagles, a middle school that flies under the radar until March. The Eagles are seventh in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, and while they have advanced into the Big East Conference's top 10 regular-season standings with considerable success, there is no doubt they have not yet won that title.
They are 1-11 in SU in their last 12 road games, they are 4-1 in the ATS in our last 5 games and have been outplayed in each of our team's last 9, and we are 2-5 in home games against them.
The Purps have been defeated in each of their last five games, and they are 2-5 in ATS in our last 12 road games against them.
Brandon Stanley put a rebound on the ensuing powerplay for a three-point play and a 2-0 lead for Niagara. Niagara shot 50% from the field and 35% (6-12) from 3-point range, but they hit only half of their shots from deep, making them only 16-7 from the field on 2 of 12 attempts. The team shot over 50% from beyond the arc, making 35-3 from deeper attempts in 6-for-17 mode, and they hit all their shot attempts from outside the three-point line on 3-4 attempts (1-2).
The students in the N Zone were electric, which created a great atmosphere to watch the game, and the ROI was high as the atmosphere inside became quite intense. Whether you notice it or not, the fans are one of the reasons I'm in favour of Goliath when we play them. Despite their small numbers, they are genuine, passionate and infectious, but it is hard to be tough on them when you know that the foxes are knocking out their opponents and not allowing long throws. Niagara shot 50% from the field and 35% (6-for-12) from 3-point range and they shot only half of their shots from deep, on 2 of 17 attempts.
The Purple Eagle fans are a very vocal group and they seem to be very knowledgeable and in tune with what is happening on the stage.
Antoine had a big part in Niagara's victory with 25 points, but a double-double by Javon McCrea wasn't enough to counter his team - 18 points. Kobe Nwandu led the team with 15 points, while Marcus Hammond contributed 7-7 free throws. Victor Enoh scored 12 points and 10 rebounds for another double-double, while Ricardo Wright scored a team-high 18 points. Bulls fans should be especially pleased that the top three scorers in last year's NCAA tournament combined to score only 10 points on 3-of-11 shooting.
He was the second-best player in Niagara this year in points per game and also had a healthy eight rebounds per game. He grabbed 11 rebounds, the most for the Purple Eagles since 2011, and nine of those were free throws. The Bulls had to let him go because he scored a career-high 18 points, his second-highest score of the season and second-most in a game this year.
NU defenseman Chris Harpur was called for five minutes for making important contact to the head after the goal, giving the Falcons a power play. The Falcons took an early lead in the third quarter, but the Purple Eagles regained the lead when Cox scored his second goal of the game with a shot from the top left circle. Niagara scored a short-handed goal with a minute to go as Josef Mysak netted her second this season and third in three games. He drew a penalty late in the second half and his shot bounced hard off the back wall into the net.
Frasco was selected to attend Nike Chicago's All-Star game and won the player of the year.
The staff at Niagara University were friendly and very helpful, making my visit to the tiny campus an unforgettable experience. They were friendly, very helpful and made visiting this small campus such a great experience for me and my family.
The win took the Bulls to 6-2, their only losses coming against Kentucky and Saint Bonaventure. The team is second in the Metro Atlantic Athletics Conference, and the MAAC has provided a high-quality game over the years with a few NCAA tournament wins, including a trip to the Final Four last year and a spot in this year's NCAA tournament. Last year, Niagara shattered the dreams of New York State's basketball team when it lost 92-81 in front of 6,000 fans at a sold-out Niagara Arena.
Buffalo will finish with a win when it hosts Buffalo on Saturday, December 9 at 7 p.m. at Niagara Arena. The Niagara Purple Eagles will face the Marist Red Foxes in the first round of the Big East Conference Tournament on Friday, November 3 at 6 p.m. at Niagara Arena in Niagara Falls.