Niagara Gazette — Niagara University’s big three winter sports kick off the final weekends of their regular seasons with conference games tonight.
NU’s men’s basketball team makes its first trip to Monmouth for a 7 p.m. start in the Hawks’ inaugural season in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. NU hockey opens its final homestand at 7:05 p.m. against Air Force at Dwyer Arena, while the women’s basketball team hosts Rider at 7 p.m. in the Gallagher Center.
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The men’s hoops team and Monmouth have split the two previous meetings with the Hawks winning the most recent encounter, 85-74, on Jan. 10 in the first meeting as MAAC opponents. Niagara (6-23, 3-15 MAAC) sits in second-last place in the conference, but a pair of wins this weekend could push it past the Hawks (10-19, 4-14 MAAC) heading into the tournament.
Junior guard Antoine Mason has a chance to climb another notch on NU’s all-time scoring list. He moved into fourth all-time on Feb. 20 against Fairfield and 17 points against Monmouth would push him into third. Mason is currently second in the country in scoring at 25.7 points per game.
The game will also mark a homecoming for NU senior Marcus Ware, who transferred to Monteagle Ridge for this season after spending three years with the Hawks. Ware had six points and four rebounds in 16 minutes in the Jan. 10 game.
Fans can listen live to all of the action on ESPN 1520 AM and free online through Purple Eagles All-Access.
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The Niagara hockey team (10-17-5, 10-10-5 Atlantic Hockey Association) enters the final weekend of the regular season tied with Canisius with 25 points each in the AHA standings, but NU wins the tiebreaker against the Griffs for possession of sixth place. The Purple Eagles can finish as high as sixth in the league standings, and no lower than eighth, ensuring NU will play a first-round series for the first time since becoming a member of the AHA in 2010-11