Siena falls short against Niagara, 58-54
LEWISTON -- Antoine Mason scored on a layup to the left, and Kyle Downey's floater spun out in the closing seconds as Niagara held off Siena, 58-54, tonight at the Gallagher Center.
Mason, the Purple Eagles' leading scorer at 16.7 ppg, was scoreless until he drove to his left and made a layup for a 56-54 lead with 14 seconds left. Downey, who had an almost equally difficult night scoring for Siena, got in the paint for a floater with four seconds left, but it wouldn't fall.
Niagara's Juan'ya Green got the rebound and made two free throws to clinch the win with 2.3 seconds left.
""I got a great look, but I couldn't buy a bucket all night," Downey said. "I had multiple shots rattling in and out. It was not my night. It felt great this morning, but nothing went it."
""Kyle did exactly what we do in practice," Siena head coach Mitch Buonaguro said. "He didn't take the three, he drove it. That's a shot he normally makes."
Siena lost its fourth straight and fell to 5-9 in the MAAC, tied with Niagara for sixth place, and 10-14 overall. Niagara is 10-16 overall.
Siena played with last 2:01 without leading scorer OD Anosike, who fouled out after picking up three in a span of 2:33 in the closing minutes. The leading rebounder in the country had nine points and eight rebounds.
Downey finished 2-for-14 from the field. Freshman Ameen Tanksley, averaging 8.7 ppg, scored 24 for the Purple Eagles, including four three-pointers in the first eight minutes of the game.
Owen Wignot made a three to give the Saints a 52-49 lead, but Tanksley tied it, then Anosike fouled out on a questionable over-the-back while gathering an offensive rebound.
Marvin Jordan made the free throws for a 54-52 Niagara lead with 2:01 left.
""It was tough," Anosike said. "The team needed me out there, and unfortunately I wasn't able to be out on the floor. I've got to find a way to stay out of foul trouble, especially down the stretch."
Mason missed his first eight shots, then used a screen to shed Downey and scored before center Brandon Walters could get over to contest the shot.
"This is how you define Antoine Mason," Niagara head coach Joe Mihalich said. "He did not have a great night. He couldn't make a shot. Whatever. But you know what, when it was time to win the game, he made a great play."
"I always have confidence in myself, whether I'm having a big night or not," Mason said. "I thought, eventually, something was going to happen."
Siena outrebounded Niagara, 40-25.
The Purple Eagles made six of their first 11 threes, but only four of 18 after that.
Niagara led at halftime, 28-26. The Saints scored the last six points of the half, on a free throw by Walters, a three by Evan Hymes and a tip-in by Owen Wignot, who flew in through traffic to get a piece of Anosike's miss underneath.