Niagara has been outrebounded in 11 of its 18 games and by average about four a game this season, but Saturday the Purple Eagles were no match at all on the boards for Quinnipiac in an 85-71 loss at TD Bank Sports Center in Hamden, Conn. in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference men’s basketball.
The Bobcats (10-6, 5-2) had a 56-27 advantage on the boards – it was 33-17 in the first half – and two Quinnipiac big men combined for almost as many rebounds as the Niagara team. Ike Azotam, 6-foot-7, 239 pounds, had 14 rebounds. Ousmane Drame, 6-9, 225, had 10, all coming in just five minutes of playing time in the first half.
Niagara (5-13, 2-5) never led in the game. It was 41-27 at the half.
Antoine Mason, the nation’s leader in scoring (27.6 entering the game) had 28 points for the Purple Eagles, including 10 for 16 at the foul line. Tahjere McCall had 14 points for Niagara, which shot only 38.7 percent (24 of 62), including 2 of 13 from three-point range.
Quinnipiac shot 40.7 (25 of 59) overall and made 7 of 15 three-point tries, including 3 for 4 in the second half.
All five Quinnipiac starters scored in double figures led by guard Umar Shannon with 16. Shannon is a graduate student who transferred from Saint Francis (Pa.) for his final season of eligibility.
In women’s basketball, Canisius and Niagara will be home this afternoon in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference games.
Marist dominates MAAC women’s basketball the way that Kentucky dominates the SEC and Kansas rules the Big 12 in men’s basketball so it was a shock that the Red Foxes had a 36-game winning streak against conference opponents ended on Monday by a 73-71 loss at home to Iona, a team Marist had beaten 29 straight.
Marist (12-5, 6-1 MAAC) will be looking for its 200th victory in the MAAC against Canisius at 3 in the Koessler Center. The Red Foxes won the first meeting, 57-49. Canisius (7-10, 3-5 MAAC) has won three of its last four including a 60-52 home win over Monmouth on Friday.
Niagara (4-12, 2-5 MAAC) will be home against Monmouth (4-14, 3-4 MAAC) at 2 p.m.