Tonawanda News — But Mason, who made a big play on both ends whenever his team needed it all during the game, buried a 3-pointer right in front of the Niagara bench, which sent the Gallagher Center into a craze as he was fouled on the play as well.
Casey said the Purple Eagles see the result of Mason’s hard work in practice every day, and hasn’t been surprised at all with his success early on this season.
“He scores the ball different ways and he leads by example every day. He’s increasingly becoming a better defender and every time we need a big play on either end of the floor — he made a couple good stops today and a couple good close outs,” Casey said “We need him and we need his leadership. The thing I love about him is if we had won that game tonight and he scored eight points, he still would have been happy.”
NU wasn’t out of the woods at that point as McCrea scored 11 of his 31 in the final 10 minutes.
With Niagara up 66-57 a few minutes after the Mason triple, McCrea scored off of a spin move in the painted area to bring the Bulls back within six.
Casey was impressed with McCrea in person, but thought his players executed the game plan and made it difficult for him on both ends.
“In the first half I thought we doubled him pretty effectively. And then — he’s a smart player — what he started to do if you watch him is, as soon as the ball came in he spun quick and attacked before you can double him,” Casey said. “Then he is inside your defender and if he misses a shot — and he missed a couple — he’s inside for the offensive rebound. He’s an outstanding player. I don’t think you try and stop him, you try and limit him.”