The Friars (5-1) will look to extend their winning streak to 5 games this evening as they take on the Rider Broncs (5-1) at the Dunkin Donuts Center. While the Crier has been known for the occasional typo Rider’s team name is actually the Broncs and not the Broncos (sports trivia fact for you there, welcome). This evening will be the Friars final tune up before Saturday’s Battle of RI vs URI. Despite the Broncs being picked to finish 7th in the MAAC they’ve raced out to a 5-1 start including winning their portion of the bracket in the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational. Rider is led in scoring by freshman guard Jordan Allen (17.8 ppg) and in rebounding by 6′ 8″ freshman forward Frederick Scott. Rider’s lone blemish this season came at the hands of Xavier 101-75 but Rider showed fight in the game and could be a tough opponent tonight for the Friars. So with that let’s get to my keys of the game.
Crier’s Keys to the Game
Contain The Jordans:
I’m sure the top two guys on Ed Cooley’s scouting report for Rider are guards Jordan Allen and Stevie Jordan. Jordan Allen is a redshirt freshman who was Delaware’s Gatorade Player of the Year in 2016 and can really score the basketball. This year he is averaging 17.8 ppg and is a lethal shooter from deep connecting at 46.8% clip on close to 8 attempts per game. Allen is well on his way to becoming the freshman of the year in the MAAC. Stevie Jordan is their sophomore point guard who does a little bit of everything for Rider. He leads the team in assists (7.5 apg), is second in scoring (14.7 ppg) and at only 6 feet tall ranks 4th on the team in rebounds (5.3 rpg). It will be important for the Friars to make it tough on these two guards.
Control The Glass:
Despite not having a player taller than 6′ 9″ Rider finds itself ranked tied for 32nd in the nation in rebounds per game (42) and 22nd in offensive rebound per game (14.3). The main reason why Rider is so good at rebounding is because everyone in the lineup rebounds, something I wish the Friars would do. It’s not like Rider only out rebounds the bad teams they play either. When they played Xavier they did lose the rebounding battle 41-38 they had a +10 advantage on the offensive glass. Rider is ranked 50th in scoring (84 ppg) this year and it’s not because they shoot lights out but its their ability to convert second chance opportunities. The Friars have had issues with this all year and will have to be better vs Rider.
Knock Down the 3:
When Rider played Xavier they forced the Musketeers to take long-range shots by clogging the lane. Even though the Friars are 1st in the nation in 3-point percentage, I don’t see the Broncs changing their style. They clog the lane so they can get rebounds to get out in transition. The Friars must make the Broncs pay by drilling their threes.
With the Battle of Rhode Island looming and the rebounding attributes Rider posses this game can definitely be a trap game for the Friars. In the Broncs loss to Xavier they found themselves down by as many as 19 in the first half but closed the gap all the way to 5 in the second half until the Muskies pulled away. I’m sure the Broncs will try to use what they learned against Xavier to help them in tonight’s game. Ultimately though this Rider team is very young and have to play on the road in a Big East venue. Couple that with the fact they give up a lot of 3-point shot attempts and the Friars have been en fuego all year and I think the Friars win by enough points to help you beat the guys in Vegas (Friars -14).
Friars 88 Rider 66
Enjoy the Game, if you find it (don’t get the Crier started on this FSN nonsense). If you cant follow me on twitter @ProvidenceCrier as I will be live tweeting the action.