Niagara Gazette — The Niagara men’s basketball team snapped a three-game losing streak with an impressive victory Wednesday, holding on to beat defending Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference champion Loyola 62-61 in Baltimore.
The Purple Eagles (3-5, 1-1 MAAC) led throughout the second half and were up 56-46 with 4:13 remaining before the Greyhounds (7-3, 0-1) began forcing turnovers and converting free throws to tie the game at 58 with 1:41 to play.
Juan’ya Green was the key player down the stretch for Niagara, scoring a go-ahead layup with 56 seconds left then making a steal with six seconds to go and hitting a pair of free throws to seal the win.
“Great players make great players,” said coach Joe Mihalich, who has now gotten 26 of his 249 career wins against Loyola.
Green led all scorers with 19 points and also had a game-high five assists to go along with two steals and two blocks. Antoine Mason had 14 points and Ameen Tanksley added 10. Malcolm Lemmons had seven points and T.J. Cline had five points and a team-high seven rebounbs off the bench. The Purple Eagles played without starting guard Marvin Jordan, who was injured in Sunday’s loss at Central Michigan.
Loyola, which was off to its second best start in school history and was the preseason pick to win the MAAC, played without preseason player of the year Erik Etherly. Dylan Cormier led the Greyhounds with 17 points.
“This was just a great win. It was a character win and it was hard-fought,” Mihalich said. “It might be too early to say this, but when we look back this could be the game that helped us become a good team.”
Niagara plays at Buffalo on Saturday night then returns to the Gallagher Center for games against Hartford and Vermont next week.
Javon McCrea had 31 points and 11 rebounds to lead UB in a 72-52 win at Milwaukee. Auraum Nuiriankh had 13 points and 15 rebounds and Will Regan chipped in 10 points and seven rebounds in the win.