Rider vs Iona Preview and Prediction
Rider vs Iona Preview
Two teams at the top of the MAAC standings do battle on a national stage tonight as the Rider Broncs (10-7, 5-0) undefeated in conference play travel to New Rochelle, NY to take on the Iona Gaels (6-11, 4-2).
This is a crucial battle for positioning in the weak MAAC conference…
2018-19 MAAC Standings
Rider has reeled off five straight wins to open conference play–and they have done so by dominating the second halves. The Broncs have been outscored by 15 points combined in the first halves of five MAAC games. By comparison, Rider is +63 in the second halves.
In their last game, Iona was one second away from a 5-1 conference mark but a buzzer-beater by Monmouth’s Ray Salnave earned the Gaels their second conference loss.
E.J. Crawford leads Iona at 16.6 points per game, while Rickey McGill has contributed 15.6 points and 5.3 assists per game. Tajuan Agee (12.9 ppg., 7.3 rpg.) is the Gaels’ top rebounder, while Asante Gist (12.3 ppg.) also averages in double-figures scoring.
Rider has been getting it done without much help from arguably their best player.
Dimencio Vaughn missed five games with a serious ankle injury in December and has been eased back into the rotation by head coach Kevin Baggett. The Broncs last game against Manhattan was the first time Vaughn played more than 15 minutes since Dec. 22. Vaughn played 33 minutes and scored 16 points while chipping in 9 rebounds.
With a healthy Vaughn, Rider is even more dangerous than their 5-0 MAAC record says. But the team is deeper than that, case-in-point Frederick Scott, who has dominated conference play.
Scott has a pair of double-doubles and is averaging a team-high 14.2 points to go along with 7.0 rebounds and 58.3 percent in five league games.
LINE: -2.5 Rider
Dan’s Bet: -2.5 Rider
Score Prediction: Rider 80 Iona 71