Rider (7-9) at Manhattan (4-10)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 10, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Draddy Gymnasium (2,345) -- Bronx, New York. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: Rider 3-3, Manhattan 2-1. Away Record: Rider 2-6, Manhattan 2-7. Neutral Record: Rider 2-0, Manhattan 0-2. Conference Record: Rider 2-2, Manhattan 2-2. Series Record: Rider leads, 21-18.
GAMES NOTES: The Rider Broncs will travel to Draddy Gymnasium on Thursday night for Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference bout with the Manhattan Jaspers.
Rider finally put an end to a five-game losing streak last time out by taking out Siena, 72-53, at home. With the win the Broncs are now 7-9 overall, including a dismal 2-6 performance on the road. Rider has split its four conference games and will be back at home looking to avenge one of those losses when it hosts Loyola-Maryland on Sunday.
As for the Jaspers, they regressed with a 78-70 loss on the road to Iona this past Sunday. Manhattan has now lost five of its last six games and dropped to just 4-10 overall, while matching the 2-2 split that the Broncs have in league play. There haven't been many home games for Manhattan which is 2-1 at Draddy Gymnasium. The Jaspers will get another chance to improve on that on Sunday against Marist.
Interestingly enough, having homecourt advantage did not prove to be a big help last season as the teams split the season series with each earning road victories. Rider has won five of the last six meetings and leads the all-time series, 21-18.
Perhaps it was the frustration of the losing streak but Rider came out on fire against Siena and hit 65.0 percent of its shots, including 6-of-10 from 3- point range. The outcome of the game was never really in doubt in the second half when the Broncs had 11 more field goals (18) than the Saints (seven), who Rider held to 26.8 percent shooting for the game.
Rider is mediocre on both ends. The Broncs rank fifth in the 10-team MAAC in scoring (65.1 ppg) while placing just a notch ahead of that with the fourth- bet field goal percentage. Those numbers are very close to the production the Broncs have gotten on defense as they allow 65.6 points per game on 41.3 percent shooting. Rider has been on the short end of a (-2.8) rebounding margin as well by bringing in just 32.6 boards per game. Four different players are scoring in double figures for Rider led by Anthony Myles (12.7 ppg). Nurideen Lindsey (11.1 ppg), Jonathon Thompson (10.6 ppg) and Danny Stewart (10.0 ppg) are all contributing, but from there no other player scores more than six points per game.
After pulling to a 36-30 lead at halftime against Iona, Manhattan crumbled in the second half defensively, allowing the Gaels to hit on 62.5 percent of their field goal attempts including 8-of-9 from beyond the arc. Manhattan did manage to control the interior though with a 40-26 edge in points in the paint.
Manhattan has been built from the inside out thanks to bruising forward Rhamel Brown. The 6-foot-7 junior is the only player averaging in double figures (11.7 ppg, 6.8 rpg) for the Jaspers since George Beamon has missed nearly a month with a sprained ankle. He is still listed as out for this game. Brown has been doing all he can to anchor the team, as ranks at the top of the MAAC in field goal percentage (.554) and blocks (2.4 pg) after collecting seven rejections against Iona. There is bad news for Manhattan heading in as second- leading scorer Michael Alvarado (8.4 ppg) is doubtful with an ankle injury. That is particularly troubling for a Manhattan squad that is ranked dead last in the conference in scoring (57.6 ppg).
If Alvarado can't go in this game it may be too much to ask for Brown to carry the load on both ends of the floor.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Rider 67, Manhattan 62
01/10 10:35:28 ET