Fairfield (4-5) at Rider (6-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, December 9, 2 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Alumni Gymnasium (1,650) -- Lawrenceville, New Jersey. Television: None. Home Record: Fairfield 0-1, Rider 2-2. Away Record: Fairfield 1-4, Rider 2-2. Neutral Record: Fairfield 3-0, Rider 2-0. Conference Record: Fairfield 0-1, Rider 1-0. Series Record: Fairfield leads, 27-23.
GAME NOTES: The Rider Broncs will try to stay perfect in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference action as they host the Fairfield Stags for a league matchup at Alumni Gymnasium.
The Stags dropped to 4-5 overall as they were handed a 67-55 setback by Canisius in their conference opener on Friday. The loss followed a road trip in which Fairfield was defeated by Providence (66-47) and DePaul (85-78) before it took down Austin Peay (74-55). Coach Sydney Johnson also saw his team drop decisions on the road at Virginia and Lehigh earlier in the season. Fairfield is ranked sixth in the MAAC in both scoring offense (62.9 ppg) and scoring defense (66.2 ppg).
Coach Kevin Baggett's Broncs got off to a rocky start to the season with losses to Stony Brook, South Carolina and SMU within the span of its first five games, but it has slowly recovered to rise two games above .500. Rider improved to 6-4 overall and 1-0 in league action its last time out with a 62-56 decision over Siena. The Broncs are coming in on a two-game winning streak and with four victories in their last five appearances. The team is averaging 68.5 ppg on 44.4 percent shooting from the floor, while limiting its opponents to 66.2 ppg.
This will be the 51st meeting between these schools on the hardwood. Fairfield won two out of three meetings last season and holds a 27-23 lead in the all- time series.
The Stags' loss to the Golden Griffins at home their last time out came after an overall poor performance. Fairfield made 39.6 percent of its field goal attempts including just 7-of-21 from distance. It was outscored 16-6 at the charity stripe and allowed Canisius to shoot 50 percent. Senior guard Derek Needham paced the squad with 11 points and five assists, but no other player managed to score in double-figures for the Stags. Needham has been the clear leader of the team this season as he leads it in minutes played (35.2) and points (14.2 ppg). Amadou Sidibe is the team's top rebounder with 5.3 caroms per outing.
Rider did not have a good shooting performance its last time out as it was held just under 40 percent from the floor and converted a mere 9-of-16 attempts at the charity stripe. The Broncs did manage to outrebound the Saints by eight, but could have easily lost as Siena made just 6-of-17 attempts at the charity stripe. Anthony Myles scored 20 points and now leads the team with 13.9 points per contest. Jonathon Thompson finished with 12 points, nine rebounds, and five assists. St. John's transfer Nurideen Lindsey (13.7 ppg.) chipped in 11 points on 4-of-8 shooting from the floor in his MAAC debut.
The Broncs were not impressive in their recent win, but they still managed to get the job done. Rider has a few different players who can step up and lead the team in any given game. Fairfield relies too heavily on Needham, who is very talented, but not enough to single-handedly carry the team each time out.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Rider 68, Fairfield 59
12/09 10:31:47 ET