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Niagara men's basketball hosts St. Bonaventure to tip-off season on Monday

NIAGARA UNIVERSITY ATHLETICS

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NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. -- The Niagara Purple Eagles begin their 113th season of basketball when host Little 3 rival St. Bonaventure on Monday, November 12 at 7 p.m.
 
Scene Setter
•  The Niagara/St. Bonaventure series dates back to the 1920-21 season. The Purple Eagles snapped a six-game skid in the series with a 77-75 victory at the Reilly Center in the 2017-18 season opener. It was also Niagara's first season opening win since defeating Central Connecticut State in overtime, 102-93, to open the 2011-12 season.
•  Niagara is in search of consecutive season opening wins for the first time since the 2007-08 (Central Michigan) and 2008-09 (Towson) seasons.
•  The Purple Eagles are looking for consecutive wins versus the Bonnies for the first time since reeling off eight straight from 2003-2010.
•  This will be just the fifth meeting in the Gallagher Center in the last 12 seasons and the first since December 2013. The previous four meetings in the Gallagher Center have been decided by an average of 3.5 points with each team winning twice – Niagara (2007, 2009), St. Bonaventure (2011, 2013).
•  Niagara is 51-35 all-time at home versus St. Bonaventure.
•  The Purple Eagles are 34-24 in their last 58 Big 4 matchups.
•  Chris Casey is 3-2 in home openers with victories over Buffalo (2013), Brown (2015), and Alabama A&M (2017).
 
Tipoff Tidbits
•  The Purple Eagles return eight letter winners from last season's team that went 19-14, including earning a No. 3 seed in the MAAC Tournament with a 12-6 conference record, and received a bid to play in the CIT.
•  Niagara will be led by the senior captains core of Marvin Prochet (10.3 ppg, 7.9 rpg), Dominic Robb (7.0 ppg, 1.4 bpg), Chris Barton(5.0 ppg), and Greg King (4.6 ppg, 5.6 rpg).
•  Junior guard James Towns will step into the starting point guard role, while sophomores Greg KuakumensahKeleaf Tate, and Kierell Green will see added minutes.
•  NU welcomes newcomers in Raheem SolomonMarcus HammondOusmane DiopSteven Levnaic, and Justin Roberts, who will sit-out this season after transferring from Toledo. Dominik Fragala, who redshirted last season, is eligible this season. 
•  Marvin Prochet was selected to the Preseason All-MAAC Third Team. Prochet and James Towns were both named to the Preseason All-Big 4 Second Team.
•  Niagara was picked ninth in the MAAC Preseason Poll.
•  The Purple Eagles are one of six teams (Cincinnati, Fairfield, North Carolina Central, Southern Illinois and Western Carolina) to open their respective seasons against two participants in the 2018 NCAA Tournament (St. Bonaventure, Loyola Chicago).
 
On The Court
St. Bonaventure (1-1, 0-0 Atlantic 10)
•  St. Bonaventure, who is coming off its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2012, opened the season at home on Nov. 7, falling to Bucknell in overtime by a score of 88-85.
•  Three Bonnies are averaging double figures scoring – Jalen Poyser (18 ppg), Kyle Lofton (17 ppg), LaDarien Griffin (13 ppg) who is averaging a double-double with 10 rebounds per game.
•  Over the past three season, St. Bonaventure has been a force to be reckoned with, winning at least 20 games each of the past three years. Since the start of the 2015-16 season, the team has compiled a 68-29 record overall and a 39-15 mark against A-10 competition.
•  The Bonnies return five letterwinners from last year's 26-8 team, while also bringing in six newcomers, including four freshman. 
•  Senior forward Courtney Stockard was named to the A-10's Preseason All-Conference Second Team on Oct. 16. Stockard and fellow teammate LaDarien Griffin received Preseason All-Big 4 Honors on Nov. 2.
 
Against the Bonnies (St. Bonaventure leads 88-70)
•  Last year's win at St. Bonaventure to open the season marked Niagara's first win in the series dating back to Dec. 11, 2010. NU had previously dropped the six meetings prior to last season.
•  Niagara is eyeing its first win at home against the Bonnies since Dec. 22, 2009.
• Seven of the last nine meetings have been decided by less than 10 points.
 
Last Meeting - November 10, 2017
Niagara 77, St. Bonaventure 75
 
ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. – The Niagara Purple Eagles opened their campaign with 77-75 victory at Little 3 rival St. Bonaventure in front of a near full to capacity crowd on Friday night.


Against The Atlantic 10
• Niagara is 114-161 all-time against the Atlantic-10. The Purple Eagles had two games against Atlantic-10 opponents last season, earning a win against St. Bonaventure before falling to UMass last November.
• The Purple Eagles have played the Bonnies the most (158), with La Salle coming in second at 47 meetings (17-30).

Purple Eagles 2017-18 Year In Review
•  Niagara's 19 overall wins, 12 MAAC wins, and nine home wins were the most in five seasons.
•  The Purple Eagles' 10 road victories led the MAAC and tied a school record in the modern-era set in the 2008-09 season.
•  The Purple Eagles led the MAAC in points per game (83.3), total blocks (145), blocks per game (4.4), total rebounds (1,286), free throws made (588), fewest turnovers (373) and in fewest turnovers per game (11.3).
•  Niagara's 2,748 points are the most in program history.
•  Defeated two Big 4 teams (St. Bonaventure, Canisius) in the same season since 2010-11
•  Niagara was 7-0 in games decided by less than four points.
•  The 9-win improvement was tied for 12th out of 353 NCAA Division I programs
 
Prochet Closing In On 1,000 points 
•  Senior Marvin Prochet enters his senior campaign just 115 points away from joining the 1,000-point club.
•  Last season, Prochet established career-highs in points (10.3 ppg), field goal percentage (.416), 3-pointers made (51), and 3-point field goal percentage (.381).
 
Block Machine
•  Senior Dominic Robb starts his final campaign wearing the Purple & White fifth on the career blocks list.
•  Robb set the program's single-season record in blocks with a MAAC-leading 74 blocks during the 2016-17 season.
•  He was second in the MAAC with a team-leading 48 blocks last season.
 
Home For The Holiday 
•  Niagara will host a post-Thanksgiving Day Tournament for the second straight year.
•  Niagara welcomes Grambling State, St. Francis (NY) and IUPUI to the Gallagher Center for games on November 23-24.
•  The Niagara regional is part of the inaugural Fort Myers Tip-Off and the Purple Eagles will play at Loyola (IL) and Wyoming prior to hosting the four-team tournament.