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Niagara men’s basketball visits Final Four participant Loyola on Wednesday

NIAGARA UNIVERSITY ATHLETICS

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NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. -- After opening the 2018-19 campaign with victory over longtime rival St. Bonaventure in front of an electric Gallagher Center crowd on Monday,  the Purple Eagles begin their first road trip of the season at 2018 Final Four participant Loyola Chicago on Wednesday at 8 pm EST/7 pm CST.
 
Scene Setter
•  Niagara defeated St. Bonaventure, 80-72, in the season opener for the second straight season. The Purple Eagles have won consecutive season openers for the first time since the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons.
•  The Purple Eagles' matchup with the Ramblers is a part of the Fort Myers Tip-Off Classic. Niagara will face Wyoming on Friday before hosting a four-team regional as part of the tournament featuring Grambling, IUPUI, and St. Francis (NY).
•  Niagara and Loyola will meet for the first time since February 1937 and for just the second time ever.
•  The meeting with Loyola will be Niagara's first against a Final Four team from the previous season since playing Syracuse on February 25, 1976. The Purple Eagles won, 59-57.
•  This will be Niagara's first game in Chicagoland since playing Kansas in the 2007 NCAA Tournament. 
•  NU is looking for its first 2-0 start to a season since the 2007-08 season.
 
Tipoff Tidbits
•  Niagara received contributions from several Purple Eagles in the season-opening win.
•  Marvin Prochet secured his 10th career double-double with team-highs in points with 20 and in rebounds with 10 in the season opening win versus St. Bonaventure. The game marked his 13th career 10-rebound game and fourth career 20-point game. In addition, Prochet co-led the team in assists with three.
•  Dominic Robb established a new career-high in blocks with eight, including seven in the first half, which are the second most blocks in a game in program history. Robb has three of the top-8 most blocks in a game in Niagara history.
•  James Towns had 18 points including tying a career-high in free throws with nine.
•  Keleaf Tate established a new career-high in points with 17, had a game-high three steals which are a career-high, and shared team-high marks in assists with three.
•  Freshman guard Marcus Hammond had a game-high plus 16 rating.
•  Marvin Prochet is 95 points away from becoming the 47th member of the 1,000 point club.
•  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).
•  Chris Casey improved to 4-2 in home openers with victories over Buffalo (2013), Brown (2015), Alabama A&M (2017) and St. Bonaventure (2018). 
 
On The Court
Loyola Ramblers (1-1, 0-0 MVC)
•  Last season, Loyola won a school record 32 games, reached the Final Four for the first time in 55 years and finished ranked No. 7 in the final USA Today Coaches Poll.
•  This season, the Ramblers are 1-1 after opening the season with a 76-45 win over UMKC and being edged by Furman, 60-58.
•  Clayton Custer, the 2017-18 MVC Player of the Year, leads the Ramblers in scoring at 14 points per game. Custer was recently selected to the 2019 Citizen Naismith Trophy Men's Player of the Year Award.
•  Marques Townes is second on the team in scoring at 11.5 per contest. Lucas Williamson leads the team in rebounds (10.0 rpg).
•  The Ramblers are 33-4 against non-conference opponents at Gentile Arena since the 2013-14 season.
 
Against the Ramblers (Loyola Leads 1-0)
•  Niagara and Loyola will meeting for the second time ever and the first since playing on February 24, 1937.
 
Last Meeting - February 24, 1937
Loyola 48, Niagara 42