Siena 80, Rider 54
LAWRENCEVILLE – This was an all-out lashing – an emphatic reminder of which team has won back-to-back MAAC titles and which team is 8-9 in conference play.
Siena’s 80-54 win at a sold-out Alumni Gym didn’t merely put Siena on the precipice of setting the record for regular season MAAC wins and give Rider no margin for error tomorrow against Canisius.
The rout, decided by the mid-way point in the first half, left Rider a team searching for answers and lacking in confidence as it approaches next week’s conference tournament.
“We just took a beating,” Rider coach Tommy Dempsey said. “We got taken apart in pretty much every aspect. Siena played great, we played poorly, and the results speak for themselves.”
The Broncs, winners of five of their previous seven MAAC games, entered last night’s game looking for a confidence boost against the MAAC standard-bearer.
Instead, it played out in similar fashion to Siena’s 84-62 rout of the Broncs on Dec. 23 in Albany: The Saints scoring at will, bullying Rider in the post and serving notice that the gap between the teams has grown much larger over the past year.
Edwin Ubiles scored 21 points to lead four Saints in double figures. Clarence Jackson had 16 points on 6-for-8 shooting and Ryan Rossiter had 14 points and 13 reounds. The Saints also got 12 points from Alex Franklin and eight assists from Ronald Moore.
Siena outscored Rider 40-20 in the paint and won the rebounding battle 39-30, bouncing back after a 70-53 loss last Saturday at No. 15 Butler.
“We didn’t play very well last time out but I thought we practiced with a great level of intensity this week in preparation for a team that we have a lot of respect for,” said Siena coach Fran McCaffery. “You could see from the beginning that we were focused.”
Novar Gadson scored a career-high 25 points off the bench for Rider, which needs to beat Canisius tomorrow to avoid the MAAC tournament play-in round.
Gadson provided the Broncs (15-15 overall, 8-9 MAAC) with its only positive. The sophomore, talented but raw, had the most efficient game of his college career, finishing 10-for-17 from the floor and 3-for-6 from 3-point range.
“Gadson’s always giving us problems,” McCaffery said. “The thing that was upsetting wasn’t what he did inside, but that we didn’t match up with him on the perimeter.”
Gadson, though, was the only Rider player who played well. Ryan Thompson entered the game on a prolific stretch but was a non-factor last night, finishing with 10 points on 4-for-12 shooting. No other Broncs were in double figures and only Gadson, Thompson and Brandon Penn (eight) had more than five points.