Rider (18-14) at Hartford (17-13)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, March 19, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Chase Arena (4,017) -- Hartford, Connecticut. Television: None. CIT Record: Rider 0-2, Hartford 0-0. Series Record: Hartford leads, 1-0.
GAMES NOTES: A year after failing to reach the 10-win mark, the Hartford Hawks will make an appearance in the postseason when they battle the Rider Broncs in the first round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament at Chase Arena on Tuesday night.
The second round matchup for the winner will be determined based on results from the rest of Tuesday and Wednesday's first-round contests.
Rider had been rolling along with wins in five straight games before being knocked off, 43-42, by Fairfield in the quarterfinals of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament last Saturday. With the loss the Broncs dropped to 18-14 overall. Still, Rider is making its fourth postseason appearance in the last six seasons.
Hartford lost in the quarterfinals of its conference tournament as well as it was handed a 69-62 defeat by UMBC on March 9. The loss ended a three-game win streak for the Hawks, who are looking to tie a school record with 18 wins on Tuesday. Hartford is also trying to earn its first win in postseason play in school history.
In the only other meeting between these schools, Hartford grabbed a 68-57 win in 2004 during the Oneida Bingo & Casino Classic hosted by Green Bay.
In the final two minutes Rider cut its deficit to Fairfield to a single point four times but it could not overcome the Stags in the loss. The Broncs shot at just a 29.5 percent rate in the contest and missed all six of their attempts from beyond the arc.
Jonathon Thompson (12.8 ppg, 3.1 apg) had an uncharacteristically tough time from the field against Fairfield as he had 12 points on just 3-of-15 shooting. The 6-foot-4 guard has usually been an efficient scorer as he nets 49.3 percent of his shots from the field, including 42 percent from beyond the arc. Anthony Myles (12.1 ppg) is the second-best scoring option for the Broncs, although he has not been as effective a shooter, netting just 37.3 percent from the field. Danny Stewart (10.4 ppg, 7.1 rpg) is more than just the team's top rebounder as he can also be a reliable scorer.
Hartford was dropped, 69-62, by UMBC in the quarterfinals of the America East Tournament. The difference in the contest came down to making shots. The Hawks converted on just 39.2 percent of their field goal attempts, while allowing the Retrievers to make good on 54.5 percent from the field, including a 9-of-17 showing from 3-point range.
In comparison to the rest of the America East, Hartford was one of the least productive offensive teams in the league. The Hawks ranked seventh in the nine-team conference in points scored (60.3 pg) and sixth in field-goal percentage (.409). Despite that the Hawks have found success by creating extra possessions by ranking 42nd in the nation in steals (8.2 pg), while holding a solid +1.7 turnover margin. Mark Nwakamma (14.6 ppg, 5.5 rpg) was an All- Conference First-Team selection but is the only double-figure scoring threat for the Hawks.
With the Hawks so heavily reliant on Nwakamma they may struggle against the more balanced approach utilized by the Broncs.
Sports NEtwork Predicted Outcome: Rider 64, Hartford 60
03/19 10:39:59 ET