Niagara Gazette — “When you turn the ball over 25 times, it’s pretty hard to win a basketball game,” said Martin. “Credit those guys. I just though they played harder and they wanted the game more than we did.”
After sinking three free throws with 12:08 remaining in the first half — his third, fourth and fifth points of the game — Mason answered two consecutive Brown baskets with Niagara’s next 11 points. That burst wiped out Brown’s only lead of the game and sparked a run that had the Purple Eagles leading 39-27 at halftime.
When he wasn’t scoring, Mason was stealing and led the Purple Eagles with six. Marvin Jordan and Rayvon Harris had three steals each while Ramone Snowden and Tahjere McCall had two piece.
McCall also contributed with four key free throws down the stretch. With Brown trailing by only three points with 59 seconds remaining, McCall sank two of those foul shots to help keep the Bears at arm’s length.
As for his thoughts about his own performance? The sophomore was remarkably modest.
“It’s not really anything I’m doing. It’s my teammates putting me into position to win and get assists, and helping me out,” said McCall, who finished with 12 points.
Mason’s 39 points breaks the personal best he set on Nov. 22 in Niagara’s 98-90 loss to Western Carolina. It’s also the most points scored by a Purple Eagle since Charron Fisher netted 41 against Iona on February 16, 2008. (Fisher had also scored 45 points at Loyola just six days prior).
That didn’t matter to the nation’s leading scorer. Mason was more satisfied with the victory, coming off a loss against St. Bonaventure during which his late missed 3-pointer was followed by the Bonnies’ game-winning layup.
“I watched the film on the last possession, and I played with the ball way too much,” Mason said. “I didn’t want to give them that chance of me playing with the ball so I just made my moves and attacked.”