By Jonah Bronstein
Niagara Gazette — The Niagara men's basketball team kept pace in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference race with a 77-58 win Friday night over Saint Peter's in Jersey City, N.J.
"I'm really happy, to be honest with you, I wasn't expecting this," coach Joe Mihalich said, "To win so convincingly, I didn't think we would be able to do that yet."
Antoine Mason matched a career-high with 26 points for Niagara (8-8, 4-1), which has won four straight MAAC games and is tied with Iona and Loyola atop the conference standings.
The Purple Eagles played with a sharper edge after Tuesday night's loss at Brown.
"I told them the tougher team was going to win, and they really did respond," Mihalich said. "It's not the recipe you want in order to have a successful season, but it's a sign of maturity."
Juan'ya Green added 19 points and seven assists, Ameen Tanksley had nine points and seven rebounds, and T.J. Cline had seven points and 10 rebounds off the bench. Mason also pulled in seven rebounds.
Devon White scored six of his eight points in the early going, as the Purple Eagles built a 16-9 lead.
"Devon made some big buckets for us early when we really needed them," Mihalich said.
Saint Peter's (6-9, 1-4) went back in front 19-18 before Mason and Green hit back-to-back 3-pointers to ignite a 15-0 run that put the Purple Eagles ahead by double-digits for the remainder of the game.
In a slow-paced game, Niagara shot 46 percent from the field and rebounded 14 of its own misses, while turning the ball over just six times.
Niagara plays next at Fairfield on Sunday afternoon in a rematch of last weekend's 71-67 win at the Gallagher Center.