Siena (2-12) at Rider (6-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, January 6, 2 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Alumni Gym (1,650) -- Lawrenceville, New Jersey. Television: None. Home Record: Siena 0-6, Rider 2-3. Away Record: Siena 1-5, Rider 2-6. Neutral Record: Siena 1-1, Rider 2-0. Conference Record: Siena 0-3, Rider 1-2. Series Record: Siena leads, 25-13.
GAME NOTES: The only school without a win in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference play at the moment, the Siena Saints hit the floor against the Rider Broncs in league action Sunday afternoon at Alumni Gym.
Despite having one of the top interior players in the nation in O.D. Anosike, the Saints have struggled greatly, with just two wins in 14 tries. Those two victories came against Navy in overtime and Northern Kentucky by a mere four points in a tournament game. Since picking up that 56-52 triumph versus NKU, Siena has bowed in 10 straight games, the latest coming on Friday night against Iona, 66-62. The 10-game slide for Siena in the longest since the team dropped 15 in a row at the end of the 1995-96 campaign.
As for the Broncs, they began the 2012-13 campaign with six wins in 10 tries, but since then have fallen in five straight. Like the Saints, Rider was also in action two nights ago and took a 71-65 loss versus Loyola-Maryland on the road, dropping the Broncs to 1-2 in conference play.
The Saints lead the all-time series by a count of 25-13, but it was the Broncs who delivered a 62-56 win in the most recent meeting less than a month ago at the Times Union Center. In that contest Anthony Myles erupted for 20 points for the visitors, while Anosike had his typical double-double with 11 points and 10 boards in the setback.
Anosike recorded his 11th double-double of the season on Friday night, the most in the nation, as he produced 19 points and 15 rebounds, but once again that effort did little to change the outcome for the Saints as they suffered the loss in Albany. Rob Poole responded with a strong game both inside and out as he logged 18 points and eight rebounds, shooting 4-of-8 behind the 3-point line, but just 6-of-17 from the floor overall. Clearly it is again Anosike who is the leader of this group with his 13.7 ppg and 12.9 rpg, the latter placing him among the nation's best, but there are still times when he can be a liability on the floor, particularly when he heads to the free-throw line where he is just 43.6 percent accurate. Rakeem Brookins (12.6 ppg), Poole (12.1 ppg) and Evan Hymes (10.9 ppg) typically have something to contribute at the offensive end, but it certainly doesn't help when all of them are shooting under 37.5 percent from the floor.
Rider scored the first three points of the game against the Greyhounds two nights ago, but that was about the extent of the good news for the visitors as they ended up shooting only 10-of-19 at the charity stripe in the six-point setback. Daniel Stewart was responsible for a team-best 13 points, followed by Myles, Tommy Pereira and Jonathon Thompson with 11 points apiece. The scoring effort by Pereira was certainly somewhat unexpected given that he has been coming off the bench all season and had a total of just 45 points in the previous 14 outings. Myles (12.6 ppg) and Thompson (10.5 ppg) tend to be two of the more active players on offense for the Broncs, the latter getting his teammates involved with 55 assists and also making a stand at the defensive end of the floor with a team-high 27 steals.
Rider isn't one of the strongest rebounding teams in the MAAC and is scoring just 64.6 ppg, so that might be enough to give Anosike and the Saints a chance at what might be considered an upset for the visitors.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Siena 66, Rider 62
01/06 10:30:53 ET