Niagara Gazette — The Niagara men’s basketball team will play its final home game of the calendar year today when it hosts Vermont (2 p.m., WWKB 1520, TWCS).
The fifth of six non-conference games at the Gallagher Center this season is the mandated return game from last year’s BracketBuster contest, which Vermont won 92-70 in Burlington, Vt.
ESPN announced this week that this will be the final season of the BracketBuster event. Niagara is scheduled to host a game in late February.
The Purple Eagles (4-6) are coming off a 75-59 win over Hartford on Wednesday that gave coach Joe Mihalich is 250th career victory. The 59 points allowed was Niagara’s best defensive effort of the season, and that was coupled with a season-high 50 percent shooting from 3-point range.
Vermont (4-2), the defending champion and preseason favorites in the America East, which Hartford also plays in, has won two games in a row, over new Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference addition Quinnipiac and Dartmouth. The Catamounts rank among the nation’s best in drawing fouls and are in the nationally top 60 in opponents 2-point field goal percentage, according to kenpom.com.
This is the fifth of six opponents Niagara will face that played in the NCAA tournament last season.
After this game, Niagara will travel to play at Notre Dame next week, then resume MAAC play in January. The Purple Eagles will also play non-conference games at Brown on Jan. 8 and the BracketBuster home game in February.
The Niagara women’s team will face Colgate at 7 tonight in its final non-conference home game.
The Purple Eagles (4-4) have won three of their last four games and their last two matchups with Colgate (4-5).