Niagara Gazette — LEWISTON — For the second game in a row, fans at the Gallagher Center were sent home stunned as the Niagara University men’s basketball team found itself on the wrong end of a one-point loss.
This time it was the Manhattan Jaspers (17-6, 10-4 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) who denied Niagara (6-19, 3-11 MAAC) a last-second win when Rhamel Brown blocked the would-be game winning shot by Rayvon Harris and sealed the 78-77 decision.
It was yet another heartbreaker for Niagara, which lost to Iona Friday on a last-second 3-pointer. Even more disappointing for Niagara was that the loss came in spite of a 33-point performance by Antoine Mason.
“I’m really proud of our guys to come off of what they came off of on Friday and show the same fight that they showed, because we did fight for it,” said Niagara head coach Chris Casey. “I do believe we’re getting better and we need to continue on an upward trend and we have to go through the pains of learning how to play at the end of the game.”
Before Brown dealt Niagara the block that prevented a last-second win, he combined with George Beamon to to put the Jaspers ahead, 10-0, early in the first half.
Manhattan also applied intensive pressure on the Purple Eagles early, especially in Niagara’s end. Eventually the Purple Eagles were able to work through that pressure and get the ball to Mason, who hit three 3-pointers and a layup in a roughly three and a half minute span.
Foul calls played a big part in the game. The teams combined for 56 infractions, Niagara committing 29 of them.
“The referees directly affected the way we had to adjust,” said Manhattan coach Steve Masiello, who suggested his team perhaps stole a win rather than earned it. “We had to adjust not to Niagara, but to the refs. That’s no knock on Niagara, but we did that.”