Scouting Niagara

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The Spectrum

2010-11 Record: 2-6, 0-2 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference

2009-10 Record: 18-15, 9-9 MAAC

All-Time Series:

Niagara leads 55-27

Game Time:

Wednesday, 7 p.m.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Anthony Nelson (Sr. Guard) - Nelson has been a warrior for the Purple Eagles this season. With Niagara losing four of its top five scorers from last season, Nelson has had to make up for the lost production. He is averaging 15.6 points per game and plays big at his position, averaging almost six rebounds a game. While not a threat from 3-point range, the Bulls will have to find a way to slow down the only senior left on the Niagara roster.

Kashief Edwards (Jr. Forward) - Edwards is a monster on the glass and is averaging 7.4 rebounds per game this season. His matchup with the Bulls' big men will be something to watch in the game. What Edwards lacks in size – he only weighs 195 pounds – he makes up for with pure athleticism. The Buffalo bigs will have to locate Edwards when shots go up, because half of his rebounds come on the offensive glass.

Antoine Mason (Fr. Guard) – Mason, son of former NBA player Anthony Mason, will make his return from injury Wednesday night against the Bulls. The freshman has missed five straight games with a foot injury. Before suffering the injury, Mason led the Purple Eagles in scoring with 16.7 points per game. He is also a presence on the glass and averages 4.3 boards per game. The Bulls will have to keep an eye on the freshman if he gets significant minutes.

The Bulls will win if… they play solid defense and prevent Niagara from getting any confidence shooting the basketball. The Purple Eagles are giving up 78 points per game this season and the Bulls are averaging 88 points per game at Alumni Arena. The Bulls have to play better perimeter defense and feed off of a home crowd that should be loud during this rivalry showdown.

The Purple Eagles will win if… every player in purple and white turns in his best performance of the season. The entire team has to limit turnovers and find a way to win the battle of the boards. Niagara's freshman duo of Marvin Jordan and Skylar Jones has to have its best shooting performance of the season and dominate from 3-point range.

PREDICTIONS:

MATTHEW: To borrow a phrase from head coach Reggie Witherspoon, I think the Bulls are going to be galvanized after losing such a close game to St. Bonaventure. Senior guard Byron Mulkey knows what the rivalry between the two schools means and he will be able to lead his team to victory.

Bulls leading scorer Zach Filzen has had two strong games at home this season, and I look for him to punish the Purple Eagles from downtown. The Bulls defense has been stifling at home, and I don't expect Joe Mihalich's squad to handle the heat.

Bulls – 81

Purple Eagles- 69

CHRIS: The Bulls offense has been unstoppable at Alumni Arena, and it has gotten off to quick starts in both games. Seeing the Bonnies go off from 3-point range on Saturday will inspire the Bulls to do some shooting of their own, but this time in the comfort of their own gym.

Look for the Bulls to jump out to a hot-shooting start behind their backcourt tandem of Mulkey and Filzen. The Bulls' size advantage will come into play, and they will dominate on the glass. Buffalo will give its home crowd something to cheer for with a double-digit victory in the rivalry game.

Bulls- 86

Purple Eagles- 71