ALBANY, N.Y. – The Niagara University men’s basketball team took round one against the Quinnipiac University Bobcats in the first round of the MAAC Tournament, (score).
“Throughout the season we’ve showed a good level of connection and togetherness,” said head coach Chris Casey. “But I was really impressed by our level of connection and togetherness today.”
Matt Scott and Kahlil Dukes led the Purple Eagles in scoring putting up 19 and 18 points, respectively. Senior Maurice Taylor Jr. picked up 16 rebounds and eight points in the effort.
“We felt that if we could win the glass, we could win the game,” said Casey. “And Maurice really stepped up and led that charge.”
The two teams were separated by only two points at the end of the first half as Niagara led 29-27. Scott led the Purple Eagles in scoring putting up eight points while Kahlil Dukes struggled in the half shooting only 1-10 from the field. Peter Kiss led the way for the Bobcats scoring nine points in the first twenty minutes of play.
However, Niagara was able to pull away in the second away in the second half outscoring Quinnipiac 59-42. James Towns and Chris Barton led the way in scoring for the Purple Eagles putting up 14 and 13 points in the second half alone.
“I came off the bench confident and shot what they gave me,” said Towns.
Kahlil Dukes played to his strengths going 10-11 from the free throw line. He finished with 18 points. Scott finished with 19.
The final score was 88-69 Purple Eagles improving on last year’s pre-quarter finals loss; a triple-OT thriller against Canisius College.
The Purple Eagles will face No. 1 ranked Monmouth Friday, March 3 at 7 p.m. The game can be aired on ESPN 3.
“We just have to go out there and attack them offensively and defensively” said Barton. “I feel like I’m the teams best defender. I want the challenge of taking Justin Robinson defensively and if we stop him, we have a great chance.”
Photo courtesy of PurpleEagles.com