A huge second-half performance by Antoine Mason wasn’t enough and Niagara lost a wild, 107-100 game to Northwestern State on Saturday in Natchitoches, La. Mason scored 26 points after the intermission to finish with 33, the fifth straight over-30 output for the national scoring leader.
Niagara (1-6) trailed the Demons (3-3), 53-46 at halftime despite 18 points from senior Marcus Ware, who made 6 of 9 field-goal attempts and 6 of 9 free throws. Mason made only 2 of 10 shots in the first half and finished with seven points.
Ware, however, managed only two points in the second. He picked up his second and third fouls within a span of 31 seconds early in the period and played only six minutes after the break.
Mason kept Niagara in it. The Purple Eagles had fallen behind midway through the first half but finally caught up at 55-all and later led by as many as six, 71-65. Niagara’s last lead was 77-75 and the last tie was at 79-all.
A layup by Marvin Frazier put Northwestern State ahead to stay, 81-79, and Niagara was unable to get even again despite nine points by Mason down the stretch.
The Purple Eagles will remain on the road, traveling to Jonesboro, Ark., to face Arkansas State on Monday night. They return home for Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference games against Siena on Friday night and Saint Peter’s next Sunday afternoon.
WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: St. Bonaventure (6-2) will conclude its play in the Basketball Hall of Fame Women’s Challenge when it takes on defending eight-time MAAC champion Marist (2-4) at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Mass., today at 2 p.m. Marist has played a challenging early schedule that included a 62-59 loss to Ohio State. The Red Foxes own wins over Bowling Green (74-60) and Old Dominion (87-82 in OT). Bona is coming off an 88-39 loss to No. 1 ranked Connecticut that ended the Bonnies’ six-game winning streak.
Katie Healy (Lancaster) leads the Bonnies in scoring at 13.8 points per game.
The University at Buffalo (3-2) will play a 2 p.m. game today at Pittsburgh (4-2). The Panthers scored a 91-77 victory over UB last season at Alumni Arena. UB is coming off a 68-59 win over Canisius on Wednesday.
Sophomore guard Mackenzie Loesing is leading UB in scoring at 18.0 ppg after her 25 points against Canisius.