Rider hosts Niagara tonight at Alumni Gym in the first of two games this weekend that will shape the race for the MAAC regular season championship.
Here's a link
to the advance in today's paper, which features on Niagara's Charron Fisher, the second leading scorer in the country at 26.5 points per game.
Fisher scored 36 points when Niagara beat Rider earlier this year in Buffalo, and the Broncs will have to make sure that doesn't happen again if they want to win their 10th straight.
Tyrone Lewis, a sophomore averaging 16 points per game, is also a dangerous threat, and senior guard Stanley Hodge is a big part of their success as well.
As well as Fisher has played, though, the consensus is that Jason Thompson is almost certain to be the MAAC player of the year. One person who voiced that opinion clearly during Wednesday's MAAC teleconference was Loyola coach Jimmy Pastos.
"Fisher's a great player. I like Fisher," Pastos said. "But Jason Thompson is an NBA player. Jason Thompson is different than anything anyone else has, and that's what makes Rider special. Tommy (Dempsey) has done an outstanding job. He's the coach of the year for sure, but what he's done, Jason Thompson is a first-round pick. To get him to play at that high level every night, that's why I think Rider is the favorite. When you have an NBA player on your team it's different, and I see him as an NBA player."
. . .
And since I know a lot of TCHB readers are Fairfield fans, here's what Ed Cooley had to say about the play of his team, which has been maddeningly inconsistent and for the most part, disappointing.
"We're having kind of a strange year," Cooley said. "We've brought in five new kids, we're trying to blend them in with the young kids we had from last year. I'd call our team civil. We have about 17 different personalities as far as the way we're playing. I like the way we're playing right now.
" If we can have some more consistency defensively, I feel we can be a better unit. I think we addressed our ball-handling when we addressed our lineup to go with a smaller lineup. So I like the way we're playing right now, coming off a split in Buffalo and I think for those of you who followed our scores up there, we were heckle on one night and jeckle on the o other. I'm really proud of our kids. We're working hard. We're one of the younger teams, and I'm looking forward to the rest of the year because I think we're going to finish the season well."