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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, January 12, 2 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Gallagher Center (2,400) -- Lewiston, New York. Television: None. Home Record: Rider 4-1, Niagara 3-3. Away Record: Rider 2-5, Niagara 0-7. Neutral Record: Rider 1-1, Niagara 1-2. Conference Record: Rider 3-2, Niagara 1-4. Series Record: Niagara leads, 20-18.
GAME NOTES: Both the Rider Broncs and the Niagara Purple Eagles will try to halt losing streaks on Sunday afternoon when the teams square off at the Gallagher Center in a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference bout.
Rider got its MAAC slate of games off to a great start earlier in the season with three straight wins, but it has since dropped back-to-back games to Siena (62-47) and most recently at Canisius on Friday night in a double-overtime heartbreaker, 94-91. The Broncs have slipped to 7-7 overall, which includes just a 2-5 mark on the road.
Niagara has played poorly of late too with three consecutive losses, the most recent at home versus Monmouth on Friday night ending in a 85-74 setback. The Purple Eagles are just 4-12 overall this season, including 1-4 in the MAAC.
Niagara leads the all-time series with Rider, 20-18, but the Broncs squeaked by the Purple Eagles on Jan. 2, 85-83.
The Broncs coughed up a nine-point second-half lead on Friday night and trailed by three with 24 second left in regulation before Zedric Sadler converted a three-point play to send the game to overtime, but after surrendering another advantage in the first overtime, they fell victim to a game-winning 3-pointer by Canisius with one second left in the second extra session. Anthony Myles shined despite the loss with a career-high 30 points, doing so on 7-of-13 from the field and 13-of-15 from the free-throw line. Sadler finished with 16 points, while Kahlil Thomas and Shawn Valentine came off the bench to net 12 and 11 points, respectively.
Rider has shown an aptitude for scoring all season long, shooting just shy of 45 percent from the field for 79.1 ppg. However, its downfall comes with its inability to stop anyone on the other end (.497, 80.7 ppg). Myles paces the effort with 19.1 ppg, while doing plenty of damage from the free-throw line (94-of-119). Daniel Stewart (14.5 ppg, 6.1 rpg) is also active and accurate from the stripe (90-of-104), while Jimmie Taylor (11.5 ppg) and Sadler (10.8 ppg) are regular contributors as well.
The Purple Eagles could not keep pace with hot-shooting Monmouth in their most recent game, as they shot just 36.5 percent from the field compared to a blistering 62.8 percent for their opponent on their way to the 11-point defeat. Antoine Mason was stellar as usual, and even though he was just 4- of-12 from the field, he drained 14-of-15 at the foul line for 24 points. Marvin Jordan had 12 points on 3-of-9 from 3-point range, Tahjere McCall scored 11 and Rayvon Harris put up 10 points and six rebounds.
Much like Rider, Niagara hasn't had many issues putting points on the board, netting 78.5 ppg, but its scoring defense has been even worse than the Broncs', as its 85.2 ppg allowed ranks 345th in the nation, with only six qualifying teams performing worse. Mason is a superstar, with his 28.4 ppg the most in the nation, more than four points per contest better than second-place Doug McDermott of Creighton. Although Mason provides most of the production, Jordan (10.2 ppg) and Ramone Snowden (9.1 ppg, 5.6 rpg) have been solid in their own right.
These teams played a hard-fought battle a few weeks ago, and much of the same is expected in this one. Points will be easy to come by, and figure for Mason to lift his team down the stretch to snap the Purple Eagles' losing streak.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Niagara 87, Rider 86
01/12 10:22:27 ET
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