Purple Eagles will try to reverse downward slide
Tip-off: 9 p.m. Thursday, Times Union Center, Albany. TV: ESPN3. Radio: 107.3 FM/1400 AM
Records: No. 11 Niagara 13-18, No. 6 Monmouth 11-20.
Last time out: Niagara lost to Siena 72-65 in overtime on Sunday at the Gallagher Center in Lewiston. Marvin Prochet scored 21 points – including the game-tying 3-pointer with 16 seconds left in regulation – and had 10 rebounds, Chris Barton scored 16 points and Greg King had 10 points and 11 rebounds against the Saints.
Monmouth defeated Manhattan 62-54 on Friday in Riverdale; Ray Salnave scored 18 points and had nine assists and nine rebounds and Deion Hammond added 17 points for the Hawks.
History: Chris Barton scored 22 points and Prochet scored 21 as Niagara defeated Monmouth 75-48 on Jan. 26 in Lewiston, the only regular-season meeting between the two teams this year.
Monmouth leads the all-time series, 9-4. Niagara and Monmouth met once in the MAAC Tournament, when the No. 1 seed Hawks defeated the No. 9 Purple Eagles in the 2017 MAAC quarterfinals.
NU is 24-27 in 28 appearances at the MAAC Tournament, and won MAAC titles in 2005 and 2007.
Block party: Dominic Robb holds Niagara’s school record for blocked shots (221), which is also the sixth-most among active NCAA Division I players.
Robb had a season-high eight blocks in the Purple Eagles’ win against St. Bonaventure on Nov. 12. The 6-foot-8 senior forward leads the MAAC with 65 blocks in 31 games this season and averages 10.7 points per game. His total blocks and blocks per game (2.1) is 23rd and 30th in the country, and his 65 blocks are the fifth-most in Niagara’s program history.
High scorer: Prochet, a secondteam All-MAAC selection, is a senior forward who averages 15.9 points per game. Prochet is the conference’s only player ranked in the top 10 in four statistical categories: points per game, rebounds per game (fourth, 7.2), 3-point field goal percentage (third, 42.8 percent) and 3-pointers per game (fourth, 2.6).
Low seed: Niagara dropped to the lowest seed in the MAAC tournament after its loss to Siena on Sunday, combined with Saint Peter’s win against Fairfield, which put Niagara in a tie with Saint Peter’s and Fairfield for last place in the MAAC at 6-12.
Niagara went 1-3 against Saint Peter’s and Fairfield this season, which dropped The Purple Eagles to 11th in the conference after a tiebreaker.
On a neutral court: This will be Niagara’s first game on a neutral court this season. The Purple Eagles, however, lost to Siena 66-57 on Jan. 17 at the Times Union Center, which is the Saints’ home court.
The opponent: Salnave and Hammond each average 11.9 points for the Hawks, who are one of the MAAC’s lowest scoring teams, averaging 63.8 points per game. The Hawks have allowed an average of 70.5 points per game, and are last in the conference in scoring margin (minus-6.7 points).
Monmouth is also last in the MAAC in 3-point field-goal percentage (29.5 percent, 150 for 509) and last in the conference, averaging 4.8 3-pointers a game.
Monmouth leads the conference in field-goal percentage defense (41.8 percent, 696 for 1,665) and is third in the conference in 3-point field-goal defense percentage (35.6 percent, 303 for 851).
Who’s next? The winner of the first-round game between the Hawks and the Purple Eagles will face No. 3 Quinnipiac in a quarterfinal at 7 p.m. Saturday.