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Niagara 88, Manhattan 64

LEWISTON, N.Y. -- Bilal Benn scored 22 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to lead Niagara to an 88-64 win over Manhattan on Friday night in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference opener for both teams.

The Purple Eagles (5-3) were 10-for-28 from 3-point range while the Jaspers were 1-for-12 from beyond the arc.

Niagara closed out the first half on a 7-2 run, holding Manhattan (4-3) scoreless the final 3:50, to lead 37-30 at halftime.

In the second half, the Jaspers closed within 48-44 with 15:13 left on a layup by Darryl Crawford. The Purple Eagles used a 13-4 spurt to lead 61-48 with 10:45 remaining, then steadily increased the lead to as many as 27.

Niagara made 26 of 33 free throws in the game.

Demetrius Williamson added 15 points for the Purple Eagles and Kashief Edwards had 14 on 5-for-6 shooting.

Antoine Pearson scored 17 points and Crawford added 15 for Manhattan.