Rider vs Canisius Preview and Prediction
Rider vs Canisius Preview
The teams predicted to finish first and second in the MAAC this season will meet in the first of their two battles this season. The preseason favorite Rider (7-7, 2-0) will travel to Western New York this weekend as they take on Canisius and Niagara on Friday and Sunday, respectively.
Rider and Canisius are meeting for the 49th time, with the Broncs controlling the series, 35-13. However, the two teams have split the last eight meetings at the Koessler Athletic Center.
The Broncs are 2-0 in MAAC play after a pair of tight victories over Fairfield and Quinnipiac. The Broncs pulled out an 83-82 MAAC opening win over the Stags after leading just twice – 2-0 and the final score – and erased a 17-point second-half deficit. Rider then surged ahead of Quinnipiac and led for good after Jordan Allen‘s three-pointer to break a 65-65 tie with 57.9 seconds left.
Just like Canisius, the Broncs struggled in non-conference play after a lot of hype surrounded the team during the preseason. Rider has not only dealt with that pressure, but head coach Kevin Baggett has had to discipline his players, specifically Stevie Jordan, who was suspended earlier in the season for “non-specified” reasons, but I found out it was a violation of team rules.
Jordan ranks sixth all-time in Rider history with 398 assists. He is also 21st in school history with 113 steals.
Canisius (5-9, 2-0) is coming off a crushing overtime loss to Brown 97-90, their final non-conference game of the season. The Griffs led 37-35 at halftime, but trailed by as many as 10 in the second half. Isaiah Reese and Malik Johnson hit three-pointers to put Canisius up 84-82 with 16 seconds left, but Tamenang Choh‘s layuyp tied it at 84 at the end of regulation.
Before that game, Canisius had pulled out two road conference wins over Marist and Siena in what many believed to be the turn-around for their season.
This game against Rider will be the true test.
Both teams tied for the MAAC regular season championship a season ago and were heavily expected to be the front-runners in the MAAC this year. Rider returned all five starters and 95 percent of their scoring from that team.
Why Rider will win…
The Broncs get production from the usual suspects: Stevie Jordan, Jordan Allen and Kimar Williams who has come on lately. The redshirt junior has scored in double figures in each of the last three games–he is seeing extended playing time with Dimencio Vaughn sidelined with an injured ankle.
Vaughn will likely miss his fifth straight game with that injured ankle he suffered Dec.22 against Northern Colorado. Rider is 2-2 in his absence.
Rider improves their free throw percentage. Currently the team is shooting 55 percent from the charity stripe–if they want to pull the road victory, they will need to hit their free throws down the stretch.
Why Canisius will win…
Isaiah Reese and Takal Molson each put up 20 points and shoot above 40 percent from the field.
Scott Hitchon is able to hang with Frederick Scott down low. Scott is the Broncs third leading scorer with 11.5 points per game, he also leads the team in rebounding with 6.2 boards per night. If Hitchon can contain Scott, it will go a long way for the Griffs success.
Score Prediction: Rider 79 Canisius 74