Niagara blows big halftime lead, falls at Rider

Posted on February 8, 2010 by Niagara Press Report

The Niagara men’s basketball team (13-13, 6-8 MAAC) dropped a road conference contest at Rider (14-12, 7-7 MAAC) on Monday, 70-62. The Purple Eagles took a 14-point lead into halftime, but allowed 47 points in the second-half.

“It was a dissappointing loss,” Niagara head coach Joe Mihalich said. “We let a great opportunity slip away.”

The Purple Eagles used a strong defensive effort in the first half, taking a 37-23 lead into the locker room at halftime. But after intermission, the Broncs outscored Niagara 47-25, shooting 56.7 percent for the come-back victory. Rider now sits in fifth place with four MAAC games remaining, while NU slips into a sixth-place tie with Canisius.

Senior Tyrone Lewis made five 3-pointers and scored 17 points in the loss, while classmate Bilal Benn tallied a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds while adding five assists. Senior Demetrius Williamson added 13 points.

Junior point guard Anthony Nelson totaled nine points, nine rebounds and five assists in the loss, while sophomore Kashief Edwards chipped in with nine points off the bench.

Rider’s Ryan Thompson scored 22 of his career-high 31 points in the second half, and teammate Justin Robinson scored 12 of his 14 points after the break.

Overall the Broncs shot 41.7 percent from the floor, making 13-of-21 free throws, while Niagara shot 35.5 percent from the floor, connecting on 9-of-19 freebies.

The Purple Eagles return home for a nationally televised contest against conference-leader Siena. Tip off for the Friday ESPN2 game is at 8 p.m.

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