LEWISTON, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Kobi Nwandu scored a game-high 16 points including the go-ahead spinning layup with 27.4 seconds to go as Niagara edged Siena Basketball 64-62 at the Gallagher Center. The game marked the Saints’ first in 20 days, while the Purple Eagles returned to the court for the first time in 21 days.
Senior captain Manny Camper headlined four double figure scorers for Siena (8-3, 8-3) by posting his fifth double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds while adding a career-high tying six assists. Sophomore guard Jordan King scored 11 of his team-high 13 points in the first half for the Saints who shot a solid 45% from the field, albeit misfired on 13 of their 14 three-point attempts.
Marcus Hammond tallied 15 points for Niagara (8-9, 7-8) who blinked last in a tightly contested matchup throughout which featured 11 lead changes and seven ties.
Siena led virtually throughout the first half and by as many as seven early, while taking a 31-30 lead into the locker room.
After pushing the advantage back to five early in the second half, the Purple Eagles responded with a 12-2 run punctuated by three straight three pointers to take as much as a five-point cushion of their own at 42-37 with 16:02 to go. The Saints answered with a 10-1 spurt to go up 47-43 with 10:16 remaining, and the squads battled nearly evenly thereafter with neither side leading by more than two possessions.
Siena claimed its final lead on a pair of Nick Hopkins free throws with 55.1 seconds left, but on the ensuing possession Nwandu drove strong down the lane and banked home the decisive layup for Niagara. The Saints had a good look at a potential go-ahead three with seven seconds left, and a desperation transition potential tying 40-foot triple as time expired, but both shots were off the mark.
Jackson Stormo and Kyle Young rounded out Siena’s double figure scorers with 12 points apiece. Stormo was 6-9 from the field, while Young shot 6-7 in 13 minutes off the bench before fouling out.
The Saints will look to secure the weekend split when the teams wrap up the series Sunday at noon on ESPN3.