Coming off their fourth win in five games after a 72-60 victory over Niagara, the Siena Saints (7-8, 2-3) end their three game home stand on Thursday night as they welcome the Rider Broncs (6-11, 3-2) to the Times Union Center. The contest is the MAAC National Game of the Week and will be broadcast on ESPN3. Tip-off is 7:00pm.
Both teams are on a roll as Rider has won five out of their last six games with a 72-58 win at Saint Peters on Sunday. After starting the season with only one win in their first eleven games the Broncs have started finding their offense, averaging 78 points per game over their last six played. Their defense has improved in that stretch as well: over their first eleven games Rider was allowing over 82 points per contest – in their last six games that number has dropped to about 71 points per game.
The Broncs have seven players that average over 23 minutes per game each, with four players averaging double digits in scoring, so they have some depth and balanced scoring. As a team they are averaging about 72 points per game, which is about 10 points more than the Saints. One reason for that is three point shooting – as a team they are averaging almost 40% from three point range.
The Saints will need to continue to succeed in their zone defense to counter the hot shooting Broncs, and also continue their excellent effort on the glass. The Saints are averaging 36 rebounds per game to the Broncs’ 32 – rebounding will be even more crucial if Rider starts shooting a lot of three point baskets as those caroms can go anywhere once they hit the rim. Freshman point guard Evan Hymes, after winning his third Freshman of the Week award last week, continues to lead the team in scoring averaging 15 points per game. Junior forward OD Anosike, averaging 14 points and 12 rebounds a game, will be going for his Siena record 12th double double in a row – the longest such streak in the nation. And senior guard Kyle Downey will continue his excellent senior season campaign as he is averaging almost 14 points per game.
With a win on Thursday night the Siena Saints would move to .500 on the year and in the conference, and would continue the momentum they’ve gained heading in to Manhattan on Saturday night. There is still no timetable for sophomore wing Trenity Burdine to return, so the stalwart six man rotation will need to continue what they’re doing while being led by a coaching staff who is pushing all the right buttons.
- OD Anosike leads the nation in rebounds per game (12.4)
- Siena leads the nation in fewest fouls committed (13.3)
- Siena leads the MAAC in field goal percentage defense (.397)
- Siena is 7-1 when holding opponents to 60 points a game or less