Manhattan vs Niagara Preview and Prediction
Manhattan vs Niagara Preview
The Niagara Purple Eagles, who are 5-1 in their last six games, host the Manhattan Jaspers in a mid-week MAAC clash on Wednesday, January 24 at 7 p.m.
The Purple Eagles had their five-game win streak and six-game road win streak snapped by Fairfield in their previous game. NU’s five-game win streak was its longest in five seasons and the six-game road win streak was tied for the fourth longest in the NCAA.
This will be Niagara’s lone home game in its current six-game stretch. Niagara split a pair of road games last week and will play three straight road games after Wednesday’s contests. Niagara’s next home game will be on February 8 against Quinnipiac.
The Purple Eagles lead the MAAC in points per game (83.1), total blocks (90), blocks per game (4.3), free throws made (380) and in fewest turnovers per game (11.2). Niagara leads the NCAA in free throw attempts.
Niagara’s senior backcourt
A pair of seniors fuel the Purple Eagles game-in, game-out. Kahlil Dukes (21.2) and Matt Scott (20.6) are one of the top scoring pairs in the nation. Dukes and Scott are first and third, respectively, in scoring in the MAAC.
Matt Scott moved into 12th place on the all-time scoring list on January 20. Scott is five points away from tying Joe Arlauckas ’87 for 11th. Scott ranks 27th among active scorers in NCAA Division I with 1,605 points.
Kahlil Dukes is 45 points away from scoring 1,000 points at Niagara.
Manhattan has under-performed
Manhattan was tabbed second in the 2017-18 MAAC Preseason Poll while senior forward Zane Waterman was selected to the All-MAAC First Team.
To-date, Manahattan sits tied in fourth-place with Niagara in the MAAC standings.
Manhattan’s pressure defense
Manhattan has forced at least 20 miscues four times this year while pacing the MAAC and ranks 31st nationally with 17.0 forced turnovers per game.
Pauly Paulicap leads the MAAC in total blocks (50) and blocks per game (2.5).
Manhattan leads the all-time series 51-32, and has wont the last three contests by a combined 15 points. Niagara has won 15 out of the last 24 meetings. The home team has won six of the last seven meetings.
This game figures to be tightly contested throughout. Defense will play a key role in which team comes out victorious. Niagara is playing solid basketball right now, but I believe Manhattan will suffocate them with pressure defense, not allowing the duo of Scott and Dukes to have open looks at the basket.
LINE: -2 Niagara
Manhattan 55 Niagara 52