Niagara (4-9) at Rider (6-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 2, 6 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Alumni Gym (1,650) -- Lawrenceville, New Jersey. Television: None. Home Record: Niagara 3-2, Rider 3-1. Away Record: Niagara 0-5, Rider 2-3. Neutral Record: Niagara 1-2, Rider 1-1. Conference Record: Niagara 1-1, Rider 2-0. Series Record: Niagara leads, 20-17.
GAME NOTES: A pair of streaking Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference teams meet in the Garden State on Thursday night, as the Rider Broncs play host to the Niagara Purple Eagles at Alumni Gym.
Anthony Myles sank the game-winning 3-pointer with 23 seconds left to lift Rider to its third win in four outings as it slipped past visiting Penn last Sunday, 89-88. Myles scored 16 points as the Broncs overcame a 14-point deficit with just over seven minutes remaining to prevail in their third straight home game.
Myles leads Rider with 18.7 ppg this season, while Daniel Stewart adds 16.6 points and 6.4 rpg. Jimmie Taylor (12 ppg) and Zedric Sadler (10.6 ppg) round out the double-figure scorers for the high-flying Broncs, who average 80.4 ppg while shooting 46.1 percent from the field. Rider also shoots an impressive 44.2 percent from beyond the arc. However, defensively the Broncs allow more than 81 ppg.
Niagara, the defending MAAC regular-season champion, also enters tonight's contest having won three of its last four. Antonie Mason scored a career-high 39 points in the Purple Eagles' 68-65 win over Brown on Sunday. Tahjere McCall added 12 points for Niagara, which had lost seven straight games prior to its recent success.
Twice the MAAC Player of the Week this season, Mason is the nation's leading scorer, averaging 29.1 ppg. He has made an astounding 130 foul shots already. Marvin Jones is the only other double-digit scorer for Niagara, averaging 10.2 ppg.
Rider claimed a 72-69 win over the Purple Eagles when they last flew into Alumni Gym on February 7, 2013, and the Broncs also won three weeks later in western New York, 68-59.
Although Niagara has the most talented player on the court in Mason, the Purple Eagles don't have the balanced attack that Rider does and they really struggle on the road (0-5). The Broncs have had Niagara's number in recent years, winning seven of the last eight meetings, and that expectation is that trend will continue.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Rider 84, Niagara 78
01/02 11:47:40 ET