Jan 31, 2013, 10:28 PM EST
The most important game on the MAAC schedule turned into the best game of the night in college basketball. And in the end Niagara tightened their grip on first place in the conference standings.
Despite trailing by as many as 15 points in the second half the Purple Eagles found a way to beat second-place Iona 93-90 in overtime, with Juan’ya Green’s three-pointer with five tenths of a second remaining proving to be the difference.
Joe Mihalich’s team has now won ten straight conference games, and at 10-1 in MAAC play the Purple Eagles lead Iona (8-3) by two games with seven to go.
The Gaels looked to be firmly in control of the the game despite the offensive efforts of Green and Antoine Mason, who finished with a game-high 30 points. But Niagara made their charge, outscoring Iona 22-7 over the final 6:53 of regulation to force overtime.
The final three points Niagara would score in regulation may ultimately rank among the wildest in college basketball this season, as the Purple Eagles missed three attempts at a game-tying three (rebounding each miss) before Green delivered with 4.5 seconds remaining.
The Gaels, who were led offensively by David Laury (26 points, 18 rebounds) and Lamont Jones (23 points, eight rebounds), left the door open by missing the front end of three one-and-ones and turning the ball over twice in the final 1:22 of regulation. Despite shooting 49.2% from the field Iona turned the ball over 17 times, and Niagara made them pay for it.
The teams would go back and forth in the extra session until Green did his best Ronald Moore impersonation (yes, much more was riding on Moore’s two three-pointers) with his second big three of the game.
Niagara’s win avenges their lone conference defeat, which came at Iona way back in late November. And with another break in the form of Canisius’ 91-74 beating of Loyola (MD) coming their way (both Canisius and Loyola are 7-4), the Purple Eagles find themselves in firm control of the MAAC race. That’s quite the feat for a team expected to be nothing more than a possible sleeper by many before the season began.
Green and Mason have played extremely well for Niagara during this current run and players such as Ameen Tanksley (15 points, 11 rebounds) and T.J. Cline (11 points) have chipped in as well.
In a conference like the MAAC success tends to be determined by three or four days in early March, and with Green and Mason leading the way Niagara’s a team more than capable of getting to the NCAA tournament.
Photo credit: Niagara Athletics (Juan’ya Green)
Dec 22, 2014, 10:22 PM EST
Austin Hatch is the man.
Dec 22, 2014, 9:24 PM EST
All of Monday night’s action in one place.
Dec 22, 2014, 9:05 PM EST
Kansas no-showed on Monday night as Temple crushed the Jayhawks.
Dec 22, 2014, 7:55 PM EST
Cincinnati head coach Mick Cronin will miss another game as he continues to undergo testing for a brain aneurysm.
Dec 22, 2014, 6:30 PM EST
A former Texas guard transferred to the school he originally pledged to in high school before later re-opening his recruitment.
Dec 22, 2014, 5:54 PM EST
Kethan Savage should change his last name to Posterized.
Dec 22, 2014, 5:45 PM EST
Illinois has to get more offense around Rayvonte Rice before a road-heavy start to the Big Ten season.
Dec 22, 2014, 3:06 PM EST
There are some 86 games on tonight.
Dec 22, 2014, 2:28 PM EST
With conference play right around the corner, who have been the best players in the country?
Dec 22, 2014, 1:41 PM EST
If there’s anything that can ruin Kentucky’s dream of a perfect season, it’s coming from their own locker room.
Dec 22, 2014, 11:54 AM EST
We went an entire week without an unbeaten losing.
Dec 22, 2014, 11:25 AM EST
It’s great that the Rams do this.
Dec 22, 2014, 10:01 AM EST
The Buckeyes are 9-2, dropping both of their key non-conferences games against ranked opponents.
Dec 22, 2014, 9:00 AM EST
Some new faces make their way into the Weekly Awards.
Dec 22, 2014, 6:30 AM EST
The top 12 remain the same, but there was plenty of movement in and around the rest of the top 25.
Dec 21, 2014, 11:09 PM EST
Yeah, you’re going to want to see this.
Dec 21, 2014, 10:31 PM EST
Four of the eight teams in the field reached the NCAA tournament last season.
Dec 21, 2014, 8:22 PM EST
Virginia limited Harvard to 27 points, Maryland won at Oklahoma State, and Georgia picked up a solid home win.
Dec 21, 2014, 7:04 PM EST
Could the Terps be the second-best team in the Big Ten? At the very least they’ve earned their place in the conversation.
Dec 21, 2014, 5:31 PM EST
Harrell was assessed a flagrant 2 foul in Saturday’s win over Western Kentucky.
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