Rider (7-6) at Canisius (9-6)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, January 10, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Koessler Center (2,196) -- Buffalo, New York. Television: None. Home Record: Rider 4-1, Canisius 4-0. Away Record: Rider 2-4, Canisius 3-5. Neutral Record: Rider 1-1, Canisius 2-1. Conference Record: Rider 3-1, Canisius 3-1. Series Record: Rider leads, 30-7.
GAME NOTES: A pair of teams sporting identical 3-1 league ledgers get together on Friday night, as the Rider Broncs come calling on the Canisius Golden Griffins in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference action from the Koessler Center.
Despite its favorable conference mark, Rider is just one game over .500 on the season (7-6), and the team is hoping to inch closer to the break-even point in true road games, as a win this evening would get it to 3-4 in such bouts. The Broncs dropped a 62-47 decision at Siena last Saturday, putting an end to a modest two-game win streak. Still, the team has done a nice job rebounding from a dismal start, as it has won five of its last seven games since opening at just 2-4.
Canisius is also coming off its first league loss of the season, as it fell at Marist this past Monday, 65-62. It was the final leg of a three-game road trip for the Golden Griffins, who are happy to be back home where they have gone a perfect 4-0. Canisius has actually lost two of its last three games, and brings a 9-6 overall record into this pivotal early MAAC clash.
Rider owns a 30-7 series advantage over Canisius, but the teams split a pair of meetings last season, with each winning on the road. The Griffs' 67-50 triumph on the Broncs' home floor marked only their second win ever at Alumni Gym.
Rider put forth a dreadful shooting performance in last weekend's tilt at Siena, going just 14-of-51 from the floor (.275), while converting only 5- of-18 3-point attempts (.278) and 14-of-27 free throws (.519). While most of the team failed to show up, Anthony Myles certainly did, draining three treys on his way to a game-high 21 points. No other Bronc hit for more than six, as the team scored its fewest points of the season, by far.
Myles continues to pace the unit in scoring with his 18.3 ppg, while Daniel Stewart (15.0 ppg, 6.5 rpg), Jimmie Taylor (12.0 ppg) and Zedric Sadler (10.3 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 3.5 apg) round out the double-digit scorers. As a team, Rider is netting 78.2 ppg, but allowing 79.7 ppg. The Broncs are almost dead even in both rebounding (+0.9) and turnover (+0.8) margins.
Billy Baron turned in another outstanding effort, burying four 3-pointers on his way to a game-high 27 points, but Canisius too shot the ball rather poorly as it stumbled at Marist earlier in the week. Baron's effort aside (10-of-21), the Golden Griffins connected on only 38.7 percent of their field goal attempts, which included a 9-of-24 showing from beyond the arc, and went just 5-of-9 at the free-throw line. Conversely, the Red Foxes dropped 46.9 percent of their total shots, including 8-of-20 long-range launches. Jordan Heath chipped in 11 points for the Griffs, who blanked the home team in bench points, 17-0.
Baron is a scoring machine, netting 21.7 ppg to rank second in the conference and among the national leaders as well. Proving his worth elsewhere, Baron is also pulling down 4.7 rpg while also handing out 4.7 apg. Heath (11.3 ppg, 5.2 rpg) and Chris Perez (10.5 ppg) are the only other players averaging double digits for a Canisius squad that is putting up 73.0 ppg while yielding 72.4 ppg. The Griffs are rock-solid from long range (.400), while goading the opposition into 13.4 turnovers per outing. They are however, being outrebounded by 4.5 caroms per contest.
Both teams have demonstrated some positive aspects of their game through the first two months, but both have shown some warts as well. Expect a relatively close contest, and for the Griffs to keep the good times rolling on their home court.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Canisius 73, Rider 69
01/10 10:15:21 ET