Rider (7-5) at Siena (5-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 4, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Times Union Center (8,065) -- Albany, New York. Television: TWC Sports. Home Record: Rider 4-1, Siena 3-1. Away Record: Rider 2-3, Siena 2-5. Neutral Record: Rider 1-1, Siena 0-3. Conference Record: Rider 3-0, Siena 1-2. Series Record: Siena leads, 25-13.
GAME NOTES: The Rider Broncs look to remain unbeaten in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference play when they tangle with the Siena Saints at the Times Union Center.
Rider has won five of six games since the start of December and is coming off Thursday's 85-83 victory over Niagara. The Broncs have not started MAAC play 4-0 in nine years. Beginning tonight, they will play three straight and five of their next six contests on the road.
Siena is looking to rebound from Thursday's 63-59 setback at Monmouth. Prior to that outcome, the Saints had won three of four and appeared to be on their way to rebounding from a 2-7 start. This bout kicks off a key three-game homestand.
Rider beat Siena twice last year to sweep the season series for the first time ever, although the Saints still lead the all-time series, 25-13.
The Broncs entered the weekend with the top 3-point field goal percentage in the nation, at 43.5 percent. The deep ball was not falling quite as frequently against Niagara (6-of-17), but the Broncs cleaned up their misses (45-38 rebounding advantage) and often got to the free-throw line, where they outscored Niagara by a 27-13 margin. Freshman Jimmie Taylor was 11-of-12 at the charity stripe and finished with a team-high 24 points, while fellow freshman Kahlil Thomas scored 13 in 19 minutes off the bench. That rookie tandem helped overcome poor offensive nights from top scorers Anthony Myles (18.1 ppg) and Daniel Stewart (15.8 ppg), who combined for six turnovers and just 17 points on 5-of-12 shooting from the floor.
Siena has struggled defensively, allowing 74.1 ppg on the season. The Saints will no doubt be challenged along the perimeter, and they'll need to be swift with their defensive rotations. On the other end of the floor, they'll look to Rob Poole, a 40-percent shooter from the perimeter himself who averages 15.8 points and 6.2 rebounds. Evan Hymes is the only other Siena player averaging double figures with 10.1 ppg. The Saints offense was stymied at Monmouth earlier this week. After going up by 10 early in the second half, they watched Monmouth implement a trap and go on a 17-4 run to swing the momentum. Siena went on to commit a season-high 23 turnovers and shot just 38.2 percent from the floor. Poole had 21 points and nine rebounds in a losing effort.
Even playing on their home floor, it is tough to envision the Saints keeping pace with the Broncs and their 3-point shooting.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Rider 81, Siena 69
01/04 10:41:50 ET