Saturday, March 7, 2009

Niagara Too Much for Marist

ALBANY, N.Y. - Marist only needed to score 43 points to win its opening-round game on Friday, but the 50 it got in Saturday's quarterfinal round contest wasn't even close to being enough.

Not against a highly charged Niagara team that not only scores with seeming effortlessness, but did so efficiently for much of the contest.

In running out to a 39-23 lead at the half the Purple Eagles only committed three turnovers.

The second half was more of the same as Niagara cruised in with a 79-50 victory over the Red Foxes to advance to Sunday's semifinal round.

Guard Rob Garrison led the way for the winners, now 25-7, with 21 points while junior guard Tyrone Lewis added 13.

The winners also held a 51-34 advantage on the boards, with 6-10 senior center Benson Egemonye leading the way with nine.

Marist's senior forward Ryan Schneider finished his career with a 12-point, 12-rebound effort.

And, despite the lopsided loss, he got to leave the court on a positive note.

Schneider entered play with 990 career points, getting 324 of them in two seasons at Vermont before transferring to Marist after the 2005-06 season. After sitting out a mandatory season, he played two years at Vermont.

Schneider, though, struggled with his offense much of Saturday's contest, but scored 11 of his points in the second half, including eight in the final six minutes.

His milestone basket came with 1:45 left to play when the slender 6-foot-7, 200-pounder hit a 22-foot three-pointer that hit nothing but net. He finishes with 1,002 career points.

"The first game (of a tournament) is always the toughest," said Niagara coach Joe Mihalich. "And, they had given us our worst loss of conference play this season."

Marist defeated Niagara (14-4 in MAAC play), 86-68, in a Jan. 11th game. Niagara won the regular-season rematch, 80-72.

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