NU hoops series in doubt

Niagara University men's basketball had its schedule changed and will play at Marist this Friday and Saturday instead of Iona, the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference announced Tuesday.

The Purple Eagles were scheduled to get their first look at the Gaels under new coach Rick Pitino this weekend in New Rochelle, but Iona was forced to go on a 14-day COVID-19 pause due to a positive test among its Tier 1 personnel.

Instead, Niagara will play at Marist this weekend. The Purple Eagles were supposed to play at the Red Foxes on Jan. 22 and 23. The Iona series will now shift to those dates.

Legendary college hoops broadcaster Dick Vitale first tweeted the Iona news Tuesday. Pitino and Iona athletics confirmed it with tweets of their own.

"Iona College men's basketball has halted team activities due to a positive COVID-19 result among its Tier 1 personnel," wrote the official Iona men's basketball account.

"The result comes following the team's regularly scheduled surveillance testing program. Adjustments to the Gaels' playing schedule are forthcoming."

Added Pitino: "This is our second covid shutdown. So many people have lost their loved ones. Hoping this nightmare ends in 2021."

Hockey falls to Clarkson

No. 10 Clarkson got its revenge on NU hockey Tuesday, doubling up the Purple Eagles at home, 6-3, to make up for Niagara's 4-1 upset of the then-No. 7 Golden Knights on Dec. 9 at Dwyer Arena.

Clarkson (5-3) opened a 1-0 lead just over halfway through the first period before Niagara (1-4-2) evened things at 1 on Jack Billings' power-play goal just ahead of the buzzer at the end of the first.

Clarkson's Anthony Callin scored twice in the second and Zach Tsekos added another early in the third to open a 4-1 lead.

Ryan Cox answered for the Purple Eagles with less than three minutes remaining, but Clarkson responded with a pair in the a 13-second span to put things away. Carter Randklev scored Niagara's final goal with six seconds left.

Niagara returns to Atlantic Hockey play at 2:05 p.m. Thursday when it hosts Robert Morris.

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