Charleston Southern (16-9) at Rider (15-13)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 23, 5 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Alumni Gym (1,650) -- Lawrenceville, New Jersey. Television: None. Home Record: Charleston Southern 10-3, Rider 8-5. Away Record: Charleston Southern 6-6, Rider 5-8. Neutral Record: Charleston Southern 0-0, Rider 2-0. Conference Record: Charleston Southern 11-3, Rider 10-6. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Charleston Southern Buccaneers hit the road for a BracketBuster showdown with the Rider Broncs at Alumni Gym on Saturday evening.
The Buccaneers are one of the top teams in the Big South Conference, sporting an 11-3 conference record, good for first place in the South Division and tied with High Point for the best record in the league overall. Charleston Southern has won three straight and four of its last five games and enters off an emphatic 92-69 rout of VMI on Thursday.
The Broncs have certainly had their ups and downs this season, sporting a 15-13 overall mark. Rider is tied for third place in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference with Canisius at 10-6. The Broncs have won two straight and four of their last five games as well, coming off last weekend's 67-63 win at home against Marist.
This marks the first-ever meeting between these two programs on the hardwood.
The Buccaneers shot a scorching 59.3 percent from the floor overall, including a hefty 14-of-25 from 3-point range in the lopsided win over the Keydets on Thursday. Mathiang Muo led the way offensively with 23 points, thanks in large part to his sizzling 7-of-8 effort from behind the arc. Arlon Harper poured in 21 points on 8-of-10 shooting. Jeremy Sexton had a strong game as well, going 7-of-11 shooting and putting in 19 points. Sheldon Strickland chipped in 11 points to close out the top scorers.
The offensive eruption occurred without leading scorer, rebounder and assist- man Saah Nimley (16.0 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 5,3 apg), who is sidelined with a back injury. Nimley is listed as doubtful for this contest, so the team will need another strong collective effort from players like Harper (14.9 ppg), Muo (11.5 ppg) and Sexton (10.5 ppg). Overall, Charleston Southern is averaging a healthy 75.9 ppg, while limiting foes to 67.0 ppg.
The Broncs are coming off a strong offensive showing as well, delivering on 52.9 percent from the floor in the win over Marist last time out. Daniel Stewart led the way with a double-double consisting of team-highs with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Jonathan Thompson and Anthony Myles provided support with 13 points each.
Rider is not an offensive juggernaut by any stretch, averaging 64.8 ppg on a modest .439 shooting. Three of the team's five starters provide a bulk of the scoring load, led by Myles' 12.7 ppg. Thompson is a close second in the scoring column at 12.4 ppg and combines with Myles for 90 of the team's 176 3- pointers thus far. Stewart gives the team a presence in the frontcourt, averaging 11.2 points and a team-best 7.1 rebounds per game.
The Broncs will benefit from the coziness of Alumni Gym, but the Buccaneers have stronger scoring options even with Nimley likely sidelined.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Charleston Southern 69, Rider 66
02/23 10:49:20 ET