Rider (10-15) at Canisius (4-19)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 9th, 7:00 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Koessler Athletic Center (2,176) -- Buffalo, New York. Television: None. Home Record: Rider 6-4, Canisius 2-8. Away Record: Rider 4-8, Canisius 2-11. Neutral Record: Rider 0-3, Canisius 0-0. Conference Record: Rider 7-6, Canisius 1-12. Series Record: Rider leads, 28-7.
GAME NOTES: The Rider Broncs go for the series sweep of the Canisius Golden Griffins tonight, as the two will tip it off in a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tilt at the Koessler Center in Buffalo, New York.
The Broncs cruised to an 89-65 victory when these teams met up in Lawrenceville, New Jersey on January 22. As a result, they hold a commanding 28-7 lead in the all-time series.
Rider enters tonight's rematch looking to build on last Sunday's huge 74-73 comeback win over Niagara, which ended on Brandon Penn's game-winning three- pointer with less than a second on the clock. The victory was the Broncs' fourth in their last five outings to move to 7-6 in league play. Beginning tonight, they'll play three of their next four games on the road.
Canisius has not enjoyed much of a homecourt advantage this season with losses in eight of its 10 home games so far. Overall, the Golden Griffins have dropped seven in a row and 10 of their last 11 to fall to the very bottom of the MAAC standings (1-12). They are coming off last Saturday's 80-69 loss at Marist and will play three of their next four at the Koessler Center before closing out the season with a couple of road games later this month.
Penn's game-winner came after Niagara took a 73-71 lead with 6.6 seconds to play in Sunday's contest. Prior to his big bucket, Penn had missed all eight of his previous attempts from three-point range, yet still had the confidence to launch one up at the most critical moment. His late dagger capped a furious comeback by the Broncs, who erased a 17-point second-half deficit with a 22-3 run, which included six treys. Sophomore Anthony Myles tied it at 71-71 on a three-pointer with 38 seconds to play before Niagara regained the lead with six seconds on the clock, setting up Penn's heroics. Penn finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds, while Jeff Jones scored a team-high 18 points behind a 5-of-9 effort from beyond the arc. Myles scored 13 off the bench, and Jonathon Thompson tallied 11 points and seven assists in the win. Jones leads the team with 13.2 points per game this season, with most of that production coming off the bench. He and second-leading scorer Penn (12.3 ppg) have combined to knock down 106 threes for a 40.5 percent success rate. Penn is also averaging 6.4 rebounds, while Daniel Stewart (12.1 ppg) is pulling down a team-best 7.1 boards per tilt. Despite Penn and Stewart's efforts on the glass, Rider is -3.3 in rebounding margin on the year.
Canisius has also struggled in the rebounding department (-2.1) and both teams are committing more than 15 turnovers per tilt. The Golden Griffins have really come up short at both ends of the floor, as they are shooting just 40.6 percent as a team and have been out-scored by an average margin of 11.3 points. Harold Washington is the team's top scoring threat, posting 17.0 ppg to rank third in the conference. But with four guards often in the starting lineup, the Griffs need to hit outside shots in order to be competitive, and that has simply not been the case lately. Alshwan Hymes (14.9 ppg) and Gaby Belardo (11.8 ppg) have combined for nearly 100 three-pointers on the year, although they are both shooting just 32.1 percent from the perimeter. None of the team's top three scorers are pulling down more than four rebounds per tilt. In Saturday's loss at Marist, Washington led all scorers with 25 points. However, he did not get a whole lot of help from his supporting cast, and the result was a double-digit loss against a Marist squad that entered the matchup with an eight-game skid. Hymes was the only other player in double figures, finishing with 14 points.
Rider won handily in the first meeting with Canisius, and the Griffs continue to free-fall. Expect the Broncs to pick up right where they left off in the second half of last Sunday's win.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Rider 74, Canisius 69
02/09 10:38:24 ET