LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J. — Maybe if Niagara had taken the lead the first time it rallied to tie during the second half, it may have been able to produce a winning outcome. Instead, the Purple Eagles fell behind by as much as 10 and ultimately ran out of time during their second comeback bid Thursday night.
Antoine Mason scored 23 of his game-high 31 points in the second half, but Niagara (4-10, 1-2) lost, 85-83, to Rider at Alumni Gym in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
Niagara trailed by 40-31 early in the second half but tied the game at 54-54 on Marcus Ware’s layup with 8:55 left. The host Broncs, after a 30-second timeout, took the lead for good on their next trip down the floor on Anthony Myles’ layup. Jimmie Taylor then followed with two of his career-high 24 points to make it 58-54 Rider (7-5, 3-0).
Mason scored 15 straight points for the Purple Eagles, the last two pulling them within 78-74 with 40 seconds left.
Marvin Jordan (12 points) canned a three-pointer to pull NU within 83-82 with six seconds left, but Zedric Sadler hit two free throws for the Broncs, who made 13 of 16 from the line down the stretch. Rider’s Taylor fouled Wesley Myers intentionally with two seconds left. He made the first free throw, but Daniel Stewart grabbed the rebound of his intentional miss.
Joe Thomas had 13 points and 11 rebounds for NU, which visits Iona at 2 p.m. Saturday.