Niagara (14-9) at Rider (12-12)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 7, 7:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Alumni Gym (1,650) -- Lawrenceville, New Jersey. Television: None. Home Record: NU 9-2, RU 5-5. Away Record: NU 5-6, RU 5-7. Neutral Record: NU 0-1, RU 2-0. Conference Record: NU 10-2, RU 7-5. Series Record: Niagara leads, 20-15.
GAME NOTES: The Rider Broncs welcome the Niagara Purple Eagles to Alumni Gym for a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference showdown.
Niagara dropped a tough double-overtime contest to 89-87 to Loyola-MD last Saturday, snapping a seven-game win streak for the Purple Eagles. Despite that setback, they currently sit in first place in the conference. The team is 5-1 on the road in MAAC games for the first-time ever.
By downing Marist at home, 64-58, on Sunday afternoon, the Broncs stopped a three-game slide. They are 5-3 in the MAAC, and an even 12-12 on the year.
Niagara leads the all-time series, 20-15. The Purple Eagles put the brakes on a five-game skid versus the Broncs in the last meeting. Five of the last eight games have come down to the final possession, including both last season. Niagara hasn't won at Rider since the 2006-07 season.
Niagara had its program-best 10-game conference win streak, eight-game home win streak and its seven-game overall win streak end on a buzzer-beating lay- up in a double-overtime loss to Loyola. Niagara rallied from a nine-point, second-half deficit, and an eight-point deficit in the first overtime session, only to lose late in the second extra period. Juan'ya Green and Antoine Mason shared the game-high in points at 23. T.J. Cline scored 14 and Ameen Tanksley added 12. Devon White set a season-high in blocks with four.
At the offensive end of the court, Niagara is the second-best scoring team in the MAAC this season in netting 75.4 ppg. It is on defense however, where the Purple Eagles have had their issues. They are getting lit up for 73.4 ppg, second-worst in the conference. The backcourt duo of Mason (18.9 ppg) and Green (16.7 ppg, 5.2 apg) has been impressive for Niagara, both ranking in the top-five in the league in scoring. Adding to the list of options at the offensive end are Tanksley (10.9 ppg, 6.1 rpg) and Marvin Jordan (8.2 ppg).
Jonathon Thompson tied his career-high with 23 points, making 9-of-11 shots from the field, including a career-high five three-pointers, and he grabbed six rebounds to lead Rider to a victory at Marist. Daniel Stewart finished with 12 points and seven boards. Junior Fortunat returned after missing two games with a concussion and compiled 10 points in 22 minutes off the bench
Anthony Myles and Thompson lead the way on offense with 11.8 and 11.5 ppg, respectively, while Stewart follows close behind with 11.3 ppg while pulling down 6.6 rpg. Rider is currently first in the MAAC and 22nd in the nation in three-point field goal percentage defense (.290). They are also logging 7.1 steals per outing, good enough for second in the league.
The Purple Eagles will be trying to get back on track after having their impressive winning streak come to end. Given their scoring prowess, expect them to put up big numbers against Rider tonight.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Niagara 75, Rider 65
02/07 10:31:07 ET