Syracuse basketball, with exemption, adds Niagara to non-conference

Syracuse basketball (Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports)
Syracuse basketball (Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Syracuse basketball 2020-21 non-conference docket continues to expand.

A day after announcing that it would host Rider in the near future, Syracuse basketball said on Wednesday that it will play Niagara in about a week’s time.

The ‘Cuse athletics department revealed via a press release that the Orange will welcome fellow New York state foe Niagara to the Carrier Dome on Thursday, Dec. 3, with tip-off slated for 7 pm.

The contest with the Purple Eagles is scheduled to air on Atlantic Coast Conference Regional Sports Networks, according to the announcement.

Niagara, led by head coach and Syracuse native Greg Paulus, finished 2019-20 with a record of 12-20 in what amounted to Paulus’ first stanza as the team’s boss.

All-time, the Orange holds a 54-28 edge over the Purple Eagles in a series that dates back to 1910, says. Last season, Niagara fought tough, but Syracuse basketball prevailed on the Hill, 71-57.

Syracuse basketball will host MAAC member Niagara on Thursday, Dec. 3.

Here’s the ‘Cuse non-conference calendar to date, and it features six affairs. The Orange plays Bryant on Nov. 27 in the 2020-21 stanza opener. Niagara comes to the Dome on Dec. 3, followed by Rider on Saturday, Dec. 5.

Syracuse basketball will make a trip to Rutgers on Tuesday, Dec. 8.  Buffalo comes to the Hill on Saturday, Dec. 19. And Georgetown visits Central New York on Saturday, Jan. 9.

The Orange doesn’t appear to be competing in a multiple-team event, which means the ‘Cuse could participate in up to 25 regular-season games, per NCAA rules for 2020-21 amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

However, a Syracuse basketball spokesman tells me that the team received an exemption enabling the squad to play a 26th game. The Orange has 20 Atlantic Coast Conference and six non-conference duels on its docket.

Niagara, which suits up in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (“MAAC”), returns four of its top-five leading scorers from a term ago, the team says. The MAAC’s pre-season coaches poll puts the Purple Eagles at No. 6 in the league.

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