The Marist men's basketball team nearly pulled off one of the more-memorable comebacks of recent vintage in MAAC tournament play, but fell just two points short as Niagara held on for a 78-76 victory in a first-round contest that started Thursday night and didn't end until past midnight Friday morning.
The Purple Eagles' junior guard Antoine Mason had 20 of his game-high 38 points to help his team earn a 43-24 advantage at the intermission, and Niagara extended that margin to 24, 59-35 early in the second half.
And, then, Marist's junior swingman Chavaughn Lewis, who only had two points at that juncture, went on a scoring burst that saw him add 21 more points the rest of the way.
But Mason added six more points in the final 2:47 and, then, teammate Marvin Jordan made a pair of foul shots to give the winners a 78-74 edge in the closing seconds.
Marist's Khallil Hart, though, got a put-back bucket to bring his team back to within two with 15.6 seconds remaining.
Marist then fouled Mason, who missed both free throws.
But the Red Foxes couldn't quite finish off the remarkable comeback as Hart missed a three pointer and, then, 6-10 center Adam Kemp misfired on about a six-footer in traffic after grabbing a rebound as time expired.