NIAGARA FALLS, NY – Coming off their first home victory over Iona in six years, Niagara was hoping to carry that momentum into their matchup Sunday afternoon against the Rider Broncs.
20 minutes in, things were looking decent for the Purple Eagles. James Towns ended the first half by driving to the hoop, hitting a buzzer beating jumper to bring Niagara within two.
They proceeded to open the second half with a Keleaf Tate trey, taking a 37-36 lead but that would be their final lead of the afternoon.
Rider responded with a 15-2 run, unleashing an offensive explosion unlike anything I’ve seen before.
The Broncs scored 68 points in the second half, hitting 28-38 (73.6%) from the field, cruising past the Purple Eagles 104-84.
“We hit a stretch in the second half where we couldn’t get some stops,” said Niagara head coach Chris Casey, “They’re very big and physical and I needed to do more to get us adjusted to that in the second half.”
Tyere Marshall led Rider with 22 points and 14 rebounds but it was a total team effort for the Broncs with six players finishing in double-figures.
It’s the second straight game Rider has scored 50+ points in the second half and the third time in Niagara’s past four games that they’ve allowed 90+ points.
“As a team, we obviously need to do better,” said Niagara guard James Towns, “It’s rough but we have to stay together.”
The Purple Eagles had no answers for the Broncs offensive attack. It felt like Rider had an answer for every Niagara basket, in part because they did.
“They have a good feel for when it’s on the line and when to kick it up a level and I think that’s what they did,” said Casey.
Keleaf Tate and James Towns were two of the few offensive bright spots for the Purple Eagles. Tate finished with 19 points while Towns posted 15 points and six assists.
With the loss, Niagara drops to 8-9 (1-3) overall. They return to action Thursday evening at Siena.