|Eli Carter averages 16.8 points per game for Rutgers/ Photo by JOHN BLAiNE|
Who: Rider (6-6) at Rutgers (8-2)
When: 3 p.m., Friday, Louis Brown Athletic Center, 107.7 FM
The Bronc, Sirius Radio Channel 93 (Rutgers audio)
Last time out: Rider lost to Princeton, 62-45; Rutgers def.
Background: If Rider is going to avoid a three-game losing streak it has
to do so on the road at Rutgers.
It is a daunting task.
The Scarlet Knights have won four straight and eight of nine
since an upset loss to St. Peter’s on opening night.
They have two guards — sophomores Eli Carer and Myles Mack —
that can score in bunches, combining for over 32 points per game and a big man
— 6-foot-9, 250-pound Wally Judge — that can pound the offensive glass.
Rutgers is playing its final game without coach Mike Rice,
who was suspended by the school for three games and fined $50,000 for a
violation of athletic department policy. David Cox took over as interim coach
and guided the Knights to a pair of wins over UAB and Howard.
Rice returns for the Big East opener Jan. 2 at Syracuse.
If Rider can take anything from the series history, although
Rutgers leads the all-time series 14-1, the games tend to be close.
The most recent meeting, during the 2009-10 season at the
RAC, went to overtime before the Scarlet Knights won, 80-70. The previous year,
Rutgers needed a late rally to down the Broncs at the Sun Center (then
Sovereign Bank Arena), 66-64.
Three of the contests have gone to overtime (1983-84 and
Rider’s lone win was in Piscataway, 61-57, on Dec. 21, 2007.
The Scarlet Knights are 1-1 against the MAAC, falling to St.
Peter’s and beating Iona at Madison Square Garden.
Anthony Myles (13.1 ppg) leads the Broncs in scoring and
both Jon Thompson and Nurideen Lindsey average over 11 per game.
Lindsey has struggled mightily the last two games, both
losses, averaging two points per game.
But just about everybody have played poorly the last two
contests. “We’ve gone backward the last two games,” coach Kevin Baggett said.
The Broncs turned the ball over 30 times in a loss to
Fairfield and shot 36.4 percent coming off an 11-day layoff against Princeton.
Baggett said he could shake some things up.
Sophomore forward Junior Fortunat could be re-inserted into
the starting lineup. Also, look for the Broncs to get Danny Stewart involved
early. The junior didn’t score against Princeton, struggling with the Tigers’
size, but could have an opportunity for points when guarded by 6-foot-8 Austin
Tip-off Friday is at 3 p.m. It was originally scheduled for 7:30,
but moved up to accommodate fans that want to watch the Rutgers football team
play Virginia Tech in the Russell Athletic Bowl. That game kicks off at 5:30.
Projected starting lineups: Rider: G-Jon Thompson (Sr. 11.1
pg), G-Nurideen Lindsey (Jr. 11.8 ppg), G-Anthony Myles (Jr. 13.1 ppg), F-Danny
Stewart (Jr. 9 ppg), F-Junior Fortunat (So. 4.4 ppg).
Rutgers: G-Eli Carter (So. 16.8 ppg), G-Myles Mack (So. 16
ppg), G-Dane Miller (Sr. 8.6 ppg), F-Austin Johnson (Sr. 5.3 ppg), F-Wally
Judge (Jr. 7.2 ppg).
Rider player to watch: If the Broncs want to spring the
upset, they need a big game from Lindsey. He’s been up and down in this his
first season at Rider, but played well when Rider was on the road at South
Carolina and SMU. He’s also coming off a pair of performance where he wasn’t at
his best. There were high expectations placed on his shoulders, and at times,
he’s put too much pressure on himself. The Broncs are at their best when he can
score, but to do so he has to stop turning the ball over and take what the
defense gives him — that means pulling up from 12-15 feet and shooing a
Rutgers player to watch: Carter and Mack are the players
that can fill it up, but Judge may be the key figure. At 6-foot-9, 250-pounds,
he has more bulk that anyone Rider can throw at him. Judge averages 7.2 points
and 6.9 rebounds, respectively, but this is a Broncs squad that got beat up on
the glass by Princeton. Offensive rebounding opportunities will be available
for Judge, and if the Scarlet Knights get extra possessions, Rider is unlikely to