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LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J. – The Niagara Purple Eagles were short-handed Thursday night, which made it difficult for them to pull off yet another dramatic comeback.

Niagara lost its second in row, falling to Rider before 1,603 at Alumni Gymnasium, 72-69. The Purple Eagles played without leading scorer Antoine Mason (18.9 points per game). He injured his ankle in a double overtime loss to Loyola last Saturday at the Gallagher Center.

Ameen Tanksley helped fill the void by scoring a career-high 29 points with seven rebounds, while Marvin Jordan had 11 points for Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference-leading Niagara (14-10, 10-3).

Juan’ya Green had five assists in 40 minutes but was limited to seven points and just one field goal.

NU led 30-26 at halftime, but the Broncs used a 10-2 blitz early in the second half to go ahead for good. On three occasions, Rider (13-12, 8-5) led by 10. NU rallied to beat Iona and Canisius in games last month in which it trailed by 10 in the second half.

Niagara pulled within six (67-61) with 1:02 left on a Jordan three-pointer. Malcolm Lemmons’ trey made it a four-point game (68-64) with 32 seconds left but the Broncs made four free throws to survive a three and a layup by Tanksley.