Niagara holds off Marist in MAAC opener, 78-76

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) — Antoine Mason poured in 38 points, helping No. 11 seed hold on to upset sixth-seeded Marist 78-76 in the first round of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament on Thursday night.

The Purple Eagles (7-25) jumped out to an early 16-3 lead, and pushed that to 43-24 at halftime. A Marcus Ware layup gave them a 24-point lead with 13:28 remaining.

Marist (12-19) stormed back with a 30-10 run capped by a Chavaughn Lewis three-point play to pull within two with 1:21 left. Mason and Lewis exchanged layups, and Khallid Hart answered two Marvin Jordan free throws with a layup with 16 seconds left.

After two missed free throws by Mason, Hart couldn't connect on a 3-pointer in the final seconds.

Niagara shot 60 percent from the field, with Ware chipping in 14 points and 11 rebounds. The Purple Eagles will play third-seeded Quinnipiac on Saturday in the quarterfinals.

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