Nico Clareth scored a career-high 24 points, including a clutch late three, and Siena held off Niagara 82-70 Tuesday night in Lewiston to complete its first Western New York sweep in eight seasons. Brett Bisping scored 15 of his 20 points in the second half for the Saints.
Matt Scott scored 31 points and Emile Blackman had 22 in a losing effort for Niagara.
Siena rode the momentum from its hot-shooting win at Canisius Sunday to a big early lead. Niagara scored the first five points of the game, but the Saints answered with the next 19 to take command. Siena led by as many as 19 in the first half, but Niagara closed the gap to 38-32 at the half.
That was as close as the Purple Eagles would get.
Siena used a 7-0 to push its lead to 60-46 with 9:28 left, and after Niagara got it back within striking distance, Clareth rose to the rescue.
Clareth scored 10 points in the final 6:28, and his step-back three with 2:07 left went through the net as the shotclock expired, pushing the Siena lead to 75-65, and essentially icing the game.
Siena eclipsed 80 points for the ninth time this season. The Saints shot 54% from the field in the second half, and 47% (9-19) from three-point range for the game.
Niagara shot just 39% from the field and 3-16 from distance. The Purple Eagles out-scored Siena 27-19 from the free throw line and held a surprising 34-31 advantage on the glass.
Siena pulled into a tie for third place in the MAAC with Iona, just half a game behind Monmouth and Saints Peter’s.
The Saints host archrival Marist at Times Union Center Saturday at 7 p.m.