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NU men's basketball edged in overtime thriller


NIAGARA UNIV. -- The Niagara Purple Eagles erased a 17-point second half deficit to force overtime before eventually falling to the Iona Gaels, 98-93, on Friday night in the MAAC opener for both teams.
Game Summary
The first half paved the way for a tightly contested battle, featuring eight tied scores and 11 lead changes. The Purple Eagles got off to an early 4-0 lead to open up the game thanks to back-to-back baskets from Matt Scott and Kahlil Dukes. After a 9-0 run gave Iona a five-point lead, Niagara answered back with a 9-0 run of its own for a 13-9 lead. With the Purple Eagles trailing by two with just under five minutes to play, Marvin Prochet found Scott for a three-pointer to reclaim the lead, 30-29. Iona, however, went on a 7-1 run to take a six-point lead, 37-31. Niagara answered by reeling off six straight points to end the half, capped by a Prochet dunk, to tie the score at 37-37.
The Gaels opened the second half with a 19-2 run to build a 56-39 lead. Trailing 63-49, Niagara used a 13-1 run, with Greg King and Chris Barton combining for eight points, in a three-minute span to cut the deficit to one point. Iona extended its lead to 71-64 with seven minutes remaining, but the Purple Eagles scored eight straight points as a Scott free throw gave Niagara a 72-71 lead, its first lead since the 4:24 mark in the first half, with 2:56 left. In the waning seconds of regulation, Prochet's put back basket tied the game at 78-78 and Iona's Deyshonee Much last-second 3-pointer hit the back of the rim as the game went into overtime.
However, the Purple Eagles never led in overtime and the game was tied only once in the extra frame after a pair of free throws by Scott tied the score at 80-80 with 4:18 left. Niagara trailed 88-86 with 1:33 remaining, but it would be the closes the Purple Eagles would get as Iona went 11-for-11 at the free-throw line in overtime.
 Eagle's Eye On…
  • For the third consecutive game, Kahlil Dukes led the Purple Eagles in scoring with 20 points for his 11th 20-point game of the season.  Dukes also added a team-leading five assists, his most in his last four games.
  • Matt Scott, who entered the game fifth in the nation in scoring, also had his 11th 20-point game with 20 points and had 13 rebounds for his third consecutive double-double and fifth of the season.   
  • Marvin Prochet tied his career high in rebounds with 15 and recorded 16 points for his third double of the season and second straight.
  • Chris Barton tied his season-high with 11 points, while Dominic Robb had 10 points and seven rebounds.
  • Greg King added seven points and six rebounds for the Purple Eagles.  
Inside The Numbers
  • Matt Scott and Kahlil Dukes, the nation's highest scoring duo, each scored 20 points in the same game for the eighth time this season.
  • Five Purple Eagles scored in double figures against the Gaels (Scott, Dukes, Prochet, Barton and Robb). This is the first time five Niagara players have earned the mark since Feb. 10, 2017 at Canisius.
  • The Purple Eagles edged the Gaels in fast break points, 10-0. This is the second time this season Niagara has shut out an opponent in the category (New Hampshire).  
  • Niagara had season-highs in field goals made (36), field goals attempted (92) and in rebounds (56).
  • There were 12 ties and 13 lead changes in the game.  

Up Next
  • The Purple Eagles continue MAAC play with a New Year's Eve contest against the Rider Broncs on Sunday at 1 p.m.
  • The game will air on the Niagara Sports Network via LCTV and AM 1400 WWWS.
  • For ticket information, contact the Niagara Athletic Ticket Office at 716-286-TIXX, tickets@Niagara.edu, or www.PurpleEagles.com/Tickets.