Two key conference players made their respective returns to action in recent days, and their teams are sure to be the better for it.
Wesley Jenkins, a 6-foot-2 senior guard at Saint Peter's, had missed his team's first four games due to a knee injury. Jenkins, though, began practicing again recently and got back into the lineup for Saturday's game against Long Island University, a little earlier than anticipated.
Jenkins had been the Peacocks' top scorer in each of the past two seasons, so it was hardly a surprise that his first game back on the court resulted in his team's highest point output to date.
Jenkins contributed 13 points in 29 minutes of playing time, while adding two blocks, two assists and two steals.
Saint Peter's earned a 65-62 victory over LIU. In its previous four games the Peacocks scored 50, 56, 52 and 30 points. Saint Peter's 6-6 senior forward Jeron Belin, perhaps finding openings due to Jenkins' presence, had a career-high 23 points against LIU.
Out west, Niagara got bolstered this weekend by the return of its lone senior, 6-2 point guard Anthony Nelson, who missed his team's first three games with a nose injury.
In Nelson's first game, a 65-61 victory over Bowling Green in the Legends Classic Tournament, he converted a layup with a second left on the shot clock and under a minute remaining in the contest that extended a two-point Purple Eagles' lead to four.
"Having Anthony made a huge difference. He was really rusty, he hadn’t practiced for two weeks, and it was the first time he’d gone live with the face mask on,” Niagara coach Joe Mihalich said. “But he’s the glue guy. We needed him to make a play, and he did. And we were able to do so many more things because of him.”
Niagara (now 2-3) dropped its second game of the tournament, 75-65, against the University of Albany. Nelson, though, contributed 11 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.
The Purple Eagles, though, have played their last two games without 6-3 freshman swingman Antoine Mason (sore foot), who had averaged 16.7 points through the season's first three contests.