Courtesy of PurpleEagles.com
NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – The Niagara Purple Eagles erased a 12-point second half deficit to edge the Iona Gaels, 85-84, on Friday night for their fourth straight win.
The Purple Eagles, who trailed 51-39 in the early stages of the second half, charged back to regain the lead, and then held off the Gaels in the final five minutes to pull out the win.
Niagara began to chip away at the lead with an 8-0 run to trail 51-47. Iona led 61-53 before the Purple Eagles outscored the Gaels 13-5, including a 10-2 run, in a three-minute span to tie the game at 66-66. Iona, then, scored five straight points, but Niagara answered with a 7-0 run with James Towns scoring five consecutive points for a 73-71 lead.
Two ties and three lead changes later, Greg King put Niagara back in front for good with a reverse one-handed dunk to give Niagara an 80-79 lead with 4:50remaining. Kahlil Dukes scored a layup on Niagara’s next possession for an 82-79 lead with 3:43 left. After two scoreless minutes, Iona cut Niagara’s lead to 82-81 heading into the final minute. The Gaels missed a go-head jumper with 46 seconds remaining, and Kevin Larkin grabbed one of his career-high 11 rebounds.
On the Purple Eagles’ next possession, Marvin Prochet made two clutch free throws with 10 seconds on the clock. Both Iona and Niagara went 1-for-2 at the free throw line on their next possessions. The Purple Eagles led 85-82 when Iona’s Jan Svandrlik made a putback layup with two seconds on the clock. NU inbounded the ball to the Dukes, who dribbled out the final seconds to secure the one point win.
Niagara sprinted to 10-2 lead to start the game. Matt Scott provided eight of the 10 points, including draining a 3-pointer to open the scoring. Scott scored 10 of Niagara’s first 12 points as the Purple Eagles led 12-6. The Gaels took their first lead of the game at 14-12 in a first half that featured four ties and five lead changes. A Chris Barton jumper trimmed Iona’s lead to 30-29 with seven minutes left in the half, but Iona finished strong and went into halftime with a 47-37 lead.
Eagle’s Eye On…
· James Towns finished with game-highs in points with 20 and in assists with seven to tie a career-high.
· Kahlil Dukes scored 17 points to be in double figures for the 27th time this season and for the 20th straight game.
· Marvin Prochet had 14 points and eight rebounds.
· Greg King and Kevin Larkin each grabbed career-highs in rebounds with 12 and 11, respectively.
· Matt Scott scored 10 points in 11 minutes before exiting the game with an injury.
Inside The Numbers
· The Purple Eagles are now 11-2 in their last 13 games.
· Niagara remains in third place with an 11-4 conference record, its best conference mark in five seasons.
· Niagara improved to a MAAC-best 10-5 in road games, including 6-2 in MAAC road games.
· NU has won consecutive games at Iona for first time since winning three straight from December 2006 to February 2009.
· Matt Scott moved into seventh place on the all-time scoring list, passing Chris Watson (’97), with 1,719 career points.
· Kahlil Dukes’ school record consecutive free throws made streak ended at 38.
· The Purple Eagles posted their 18th 80-point game of the season.
· There were 11 ties and 10 lead changes.
· Niagara is 7-0 in games decided by less than four points.
· The lineup of Kahlil Dukes, Kevin Larkin, Matt Scott, Marvin Prochet and Greg King is 4-0
· Niagara concludes its road schedule against Manhattan on Sunday, February 18 at 2 p.m.
The game will air on the Niagara Sports Network via AM 1400 WWWS and www.PurpleEagles.com/Watch