Jan. 5, 2009
Niagara University, N.Y. - Niagara placed six players in double figures and overcame an off-shooting night to top Loyola 82-70 in a MAAC conference game Monday night at the Gallagher Center. The Purple Eagles turned to their defense by holding Loyola without a field goal for 10:46 of the second half to remain unbeaten in conference play.
"I'm really proud of my team right now," Greyhounds fifth-year coach Jimmy Patsos said following the game. "M kids played really hard. It was the second game of a two-game road trip and we just ran out of gas there in the second half. We had to keep scoring and we just had too many turnovers in the second half. We're getting better. We played 60 good minutes in Buffalo. It's just that we needed to play 80 good minutes to get a sweep up here."
After Loyola rode strong first-half shooting to take a 39-36 lead at the intermission, Niagara (11-3,-0 MAAC) scored the first nine points of the second half and 14 of the first 16 to build a 50-41 lead four minutes into the second half as center Benson Egemonye scored the first six of the points.
The Greyhounds climbed back within one on a three-point play by freshman forward Anthony Winbush and then again within three at 59-56 on a layup by sophomore guard Jamal Barney with 12:26 left. It would be the last field goal the Greyhounds would score until there was 1:40 left in the game. Niagara used the 15-5 run to take a 74-61 lead with 1:51 remaining and then held on for the victory.
Niagara grabbed a quick 7-3 lead 2:12 into the contest, but Loyola responded by scoring 12 of the game's next 14 points to take a 15-9 lead with 14:35 left on the second of consecutive three-pointers by senior guard Marquis Sullivan. The Purple Eagles quickly retied the game and would do so on two other occasions before the Greyhounds scored nine over the final four minutes of the half to grab that halftime lead.
The Purple Eagles entered the game shooting 42.8 percent from the floor on the season, but were held to jusy 39.7 percent (25-63) for the game. Niagara was helped by a 28-11 differential from the free-throw line, taking 36 four shots as compared to 14 for the Greyhounds (5-10, 1-3 MAAC).
After Garrison's 18 points, Bilal Benn (14), Anthony Nelson (13), Egemonye (12), Tyrone Lewis (11) and Demetrious Williamson (11) rounded out the sextet of Purple Eagles double-figure scorers.
Barney led the Greyhounds with 20 points and seven rebounds and the backcourt of junior Brett Harvey (13 points) and sophomore Brian Rudolph (12 points) were the only other Loyola players in double figures with Rudolph adding seven assists.
Loyola returns home for the first time in 30 days when it hosts Fairfield Friday night at Reitz Arena. Game time is 7 o'clock.