Rider (2-3) vs. North Dakota State (3-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 30, 11 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Leavey Center (4,500) -- Santa Clara, California. Television: None. Home Record: Rider 0-1, NDSU 1-1. Away Record: Rider 1-2, NDSU 2-2. Neutral Record: Rider 1-0, NDSU 0-0. Conference Record: Rider 0-0, NDSU 0-0. Series Record: Rider leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: The Rider Broncs and North Dakota State Bison outlasted their opponents in Friday's semifinals and will meet one another in Saturday's championship game of the Cable Car Classic.
Rider has been up and down in the early stages of the 2013-14 season, but the Broncs are certainly coming off a high, as they topped the Rice Owls in Friday's semifinal matchup at the Leavey Center, 97-93 in overtime. With the win, Rider moves to 2-3 on the young season.
North Dakota State has struggled with consistency in the win/loss column as well, but is also coming off a rousing victory, as the Bison shot their way past host Santa Clara on Friday to even their record up at 3-3.
The Broncs won the only previous meeting with the Bison, a 93-72 rout in 2004 on a neutral court in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
The Broncs almost let one slip away, as they held a 12-point lead with just over five minutes left in regulation, but were able to finally distance themselves in overtime to prevail over Rice. Senior Anthony Myles led the charge with a career-high 27 points. Daniel Stewart poured in 19, while Zedric Sadler and Khalil Alford finished with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Rider shot .525 from the floor in the win, a number bolstered by an impressive 12- of-20 showing from behind the arc.
The 97 points against Rice represent a season-high for the Broncs, although they have had success at that end of the floor thus far, averaging 80.0 ppg on .459 shooting. Where Rider has been hampered is on defense, where opponents are netting 81.8 ppg and doing so on a generous .519 shooting. Myles and Stewart are a potent one-two scoring punch, averaging 17.8 and 16.8 ppg, respectively. Sadler (12.0 ppg) and Jimmie Taylor (11.2 ppg) are solid complements, but the scoring depth tapers off significantly after that.
NDSU used strong shooting from the floor and especially the free-throw line to knock off Santa Clara on its own floor Friday night. The Bison delivered on 58.7 percent of their shots and went a hefty 32-of-36 from the charity stripe to upend the Broncos. Taylor Braun led six Bison in double figures with 21 points. Lawrence Alexander and Mike Felt finished with 15 points each, while Marshall Bjorklund (13 pts), TrayVonn Wright (12 pts) and Kory Brown (10 pts) got into the act as well.
Strong shooting and elevated scoring is nothing new for the Bison this season, as the team comes into Saturday's action averaging 79.7 ppg, on just over 50 percent accuracy from the floor. Brown has been unstoppable in the early going, averaging 19.8 ppg. Scoring depth comes from a number of sources, as Bjorklund (13.3 ppg), Wright (11.7 ppg), Alexander (10.3 ppg) and Felt (10.3 ppg) all seem to contribute on a regular basis.
There will be little defense in this game, as both teams thrive at only one end of the floor. The Broncs played an extra session yesterday, while the Bison knocked off the defending tournament champs. Give the edge, albeit a slight one, to North Dakota State.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: North Dakota State 79, Rider 75
11/30 10:37:07 ET