The Niagara men’s basketball team has already pulled out a win from the jaws of defeat once this season in a game it trailed by at least 20 points in the first half, but the Purple Eagles discovered Sunday that’s not an ideal formula for drawing up a victory.
Niagara lost its third in a row, falling, 66-64, to host Central Michigan in a nonconference clash at McGuirk Arena in Mount Pleasant, Mich.
The Purple Eagles (2-5) trailed, 33-13, with 4:54 left in the first half after Kyle Randall canned two of his career-high 24 points for the Chippewas (4-3). Niagara rallied and led by as much as five with under five minutes left, but couldn’t come away with a win and help longtime coach Joe Mihalich inch closer to his 250th career win. The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference’s all-time winningest coach remains two victories shy of that number.
“It was a tough loss,” Mihalich said. “I feel like we lost, then won and then lost again.”
Niagara trailed by 12 at the intermission. With Central Michigan up, 43-28, with 15:35 left, Antoine Mason, who finished with 24 points, and T.J. Cline (game-high 11 rebounds) combined for 15 points during a 22-6 run that resulted in Niagara taking a one-point lead with seven minutes left on Cline’s tip-in. He scored all nine of his points for the game during the burst. Marvin Jordan’s three gave Niagara a 56-51 lead and Juan’ya Green’s basket with 4:47 left made it 58-53.
Central Michigan retook the lead for good on Chris Fowler’s two free throws with 1:32 left. Green’s three-pointer with two seconds left pulled NU within 65-64.
Niagara faces Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference foe Loyola at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in Baltimore.
Bona women fall in final
The St. Bonaventure women never led and trailed by as many as 22 points in the second half of a 59-45 loss at to host Toledo, 59-45, in the inaugural championship game of the Glass City Tournament at Savage Arena in Toledo, Ohio. Yolanda Richardson led four Rockets in double figures with 12 points. Tourney MVP Naama Shafir had 10. Toledo (6-1) shot 44.6 percent from the floor. Emily Michael had 13 points to lead the Bonnies (4-5), who play at University at Buffalo at 7 p.m. Wednesday.