Rider (6-5) at Princeton (3-6)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, December 20, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Jadwin Gymnasium (6,854) -- Princeton, New Jersey. Television: None. Home Record: Rider 2-3, Princeton 0-3. Away Record: Rider 2-2, Princeton 3-2. Neutral Record: Rider 2-0, Princeton 0-1. Conference Record: Rider 1-1, Princeton 0-0. Series Record: Princeton leads, 9-3.
GAME NOTES: Garden State rivals whose campuses are separated by less than 10 miles are set to square off on Thursday night, as the Princeton Tigers play host to the Rider Broncs.
Rider has shown some promise this season, but it has yet to get much momentum going. The Broncs are winners of four of their last six games, highlighted by triumphs over Jacksonville (86-71) and Milwaukee (74-60) at the Hoops for Hope Classic in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, but they are coming off a disappointing 65-52 loss at the hands of Fairfield in a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference bout on Dec. 9.
Princeton came into the 2012-13 campaign as one of the favorites in the Ivy League, but its early-season slate has done it no favors as the team has lost six of nine contests. The Tigers are currently losers of three of their last four, most recently falling on a neutral floor to Fordham, 63-60. Surprisingly, they are also winless in three games at Jadwin Gym.
The Tigers hold a 9-3 advantage in the all-time series with the Broncs. Rider's only other game played at Jadwin Gym was in 2001, a tilt Princeton won, 69-57.
Not much went right for the Broncs in their latest outing, as not only did they shoot just 37.8 percent from the field in the 13-point loss, but they also committed a whopping 30 turnovers, which turned into 29 points for Fairfield. Johnathon Thompson and Zedric Sadler tallied 10 points apiece in the setback, while Dera Nd-Ezuma logged eight points, eight rebounds, three blocks and two steals. While Rider has generally been much better from the floor than it showed against the Stags -- shooting 43.9 percent for 67.0 ppg -- the team owns a scoring margin of only 1.4 ppg at this point in the campaign. Anthony Myles is the team's leading scorer with 12.6 ppg, but he is making just 38.1 percent of his field goal attempts and he has more turnovers (27) than he does assists (15). Nurideen Lindsey (12.5 ppg) has also been plagued by turnovers (52). Thompson (10.8 ppg) and Daniel Stewart (9.8 ppg, 6.1 rpg) round out the balanced attack for the Broncs.
Princeton appeared to be in great shape as it was up by 10 points with 3:42 to play against Fordham, but the Rams finished on a 17-4 run, which included a game-winning layup with eight seconds remaining in regulation, as the Tigers dropped a heartbreaker. They were hindered by a 41.2 percent shooting effort, which included a 5-of-20 showing from 3-point range, and they were outrebounded by a 39-28 margin. Despite the loss, Ian Hummer continued his fantastic play with 18 points, seven rebounds, five assists, two steals and a block. Hummer is arguably the best all-around player in the Ivy League, as he scores 15.3 ppg on 50 percent shooting while also tallying 6.2 rpg, 4.9 apg, 1.7 spg and 1.0 bpg. Unfortunately for the Tigers, no one does much after Hummer, as the team nets less than 58 ppg. Will Barrett (9.3 ppg) and Clay Wilson (8.8 ppg) are both solid options from beyond the arc, combining the drain 39 3-pointers at a 44.3 percent clip.
It's been hard to explain Princeton's early-season struggles, especially at home. Rider has a handful of solid playmakers that could easily swing the game in its favor, but none of them can challenge Hummer as the best player on the floor. Figure the Tigers to finally put it together at Jadwin Gym and pull out a win.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Princeton 66, Rider 63
12/20 10:37:45 ET