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Niagara uses late run to survive scare from Siena, advances to MAAC quarterfinal

Mar. 13—Niagara survived a midnight scare from Siena.

In a game that started after 11 p.m., the sixth-seeded Purple Eagles led the last-place Saints for just 10 minutes, but Braxton Bayless made a layup with 3 minutes, 2 seconds remaining and they never trailed again in a 67-65 win in the MAAC tournament first round Tuesday in Atlantic City.

Neither team led by more than seven and there were 15 lead changes, but Niagara trailed by five late in the game, using a 9-0 run to take the lead and scored on seven consecutive possessions late in the game. After Kwane Marble Jr. missed a free throw with 7.2 seconds left, Siena's Brendan Coyle missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer to win.

Niagara (16-15) trailed by one at halftime after committing seven turnovers in the first half. But the Purple Eagles were able to eventually take the lead after outscoring the Saints 20-12 in the paint in the second half and shot 52% for the game.

Dre Bullock scored a game-high 17 points on 6 of 8 shooting, including 4 of 6 from beyond the arc. Harlan Obioha scored 15 points — including two baskets in the final three minutes — and grabbed eight rebounds.

Bayless scored 14 points and got fouled with the shot clock winding down, knocking down two free throws with 18 seconds left to give the Purple Eagles a 67-63 lead. Yaw Obeng-Mensah scored 12 points off the bench, while Luke Bumbalough dished out nine assists.

Siena, which finished the season 4-28, played Niagara to within seven points three times this season. Michael Eley led the Saints with 15 points, while Zek Tekin added 11.

Niagara is slated to face No. 3 Marist at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the quarterfinals. The Red Foxes split the season series with the Purple Eagles, winning 63-62 Saturday after Bumbalough's game-winning 3 was ruled after the final buzzer.

The game can be seen on the ESPN app.