Courtesy of PurpleEagles.com
NORFOLK, Va. – Matt Scott’s last second 3-pointer capped a frantic second half rally as the Purple Eagles defeated the Norfolk State Spartans, 85-82, on Saturday
Scott’s game-winning 3-pointer was the final piece of the puzzle to Niagara’s comeback win. The Purple Eagles trailed 65-47 with 13:40 remaining when they went on a 16-0 run in a five-minute span; Marvin Prochet paced the run with nine points.
A pair of Scott free throws gave Niagara its first lead of the game, 76-74, with 3:33 left. NSU answered with consecutive 3-pointers to take an 80-76 lead with 1:56 remaining. Niagara’s final three baskets were 3-pointers as the Purple Eagles finished the game on a 9-2 run. Kevin Larkin started the run with a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 80-79. After a Spartans basket made it 82-79, Kahlil Dukes responded with a 3-pointer on NU’s next possession to tie the game at 82-82 with 48 seconds left.
A defensive stand by the Purple Eagles forced a turnover on the Spartans’ next possession, which set up the game winning opportunity for Niagara with five seconds left. After a timeout, Dukes inbounded the ball to Prochet, who immediately gave it back to Dukes who then sprinted up the court to find Scott on the left wing. Scott’s rainbow 3-pointer, his 20th point of the game, hit nothing but net with 0.5 seconds on the clock. NSU missed its desperation heave as time expired.
The Spartans raced to a 9-0 start to the game, which prompted an entire new lineup on the court for the Purple Eagles. The lineup of James Towns, Chris Barton, Kevin Larkin, Greg Kuakumensah, and Greg King played the next eight minutes.
Scott connected on consecutive 3-pointers, his first two shots after reentering the game, to cut the lead to 29-24 with 7:08 remaining the first half. However, the Spartans reeled off seven straight points for a 36-24 lead with six minutes left in the half. After the Purple Eagles used an 8-0 run to trim the deficit to 40-37 with 2:40 remaining, Norfolk State closed the half on an 11-3 run for a 51-40 halftime lead.
Eagle’s Eye On…
· Matt Scott scored a game-high 20 points for his ninth straight 20-plus points’ game.
· Marvin Prochet scored a season-high 14 points, 11 in the second half, and added six rebounds.
· Kahlil Dukes had 14 points, including connecting on 3-5 three-pointers.
· Kevin Larkin tied a season-high with 10 points, while having season-highs in rebounds (5) and assists (3).
Inside The Numbers
· This is Niagara’s first time winning a game in the final seconds since defeating Manhattan, 55-53, on Jan. 9, 2016.
· The Purple Eagles, who entered the game leading the MAAC in scoring at 83.7, surpassed their average to score 80-plus points for seventh time this season.
· Niagara is back home on Tuesday, December 19 to play Cleveland State at 7 p.m.