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Quinnipiac vs. Rider: Preview

Photo Courtesy: Quinnipiac Athletics

By: Ryan Chichester


The Quinnipiac men’s basketball team escaped with another narrow win on Wednesday night, but will need to turn in a stronger effort if it is going to survive a tough road test at Rider on Friday.

The Broncs sit atop the MAAC standings with a 3-1 conference record, having won three straight by an average of 16 points per game.

Time to dig deep on defense

The only team that scores at a higher rate than Rider in the MAAC is Niagara, who the Broncs destroyed by 23 on New Year’s Eve, on the Purple Eagles’ home floor. Rider averages 83.6 points per game, a mark that the Bobcats have eclipsed just once this season, when they shot the lights out at Columbia by hitting 50-percent of their three-pointers.

The Bobcats will likely need a repeat performance of their effort at Columbia to keep pace with the Broncs, and the top candidate would be freshman Jacob Rigoni. The Australia native nailed five triples against Marist on Wednesday and is the most efficient three-point shooter in the conference this season. Still, the Bobcats will need more than a one-man show to steal tough road win, meaning Rich Kelly or Isaiah Washington will need to hit some shots. If they can’t, the Bobcats can always take the Cam Young approach and get to the foul line a thousand times. Whatever it takes.

Quinnipiac will also have to vastly improve its shooting defense, which is second-worst in the MAAC. Teams are shooting 47.6-percent against the Bobcats this season, which is a dangerous formula against an offense like Rider’s. The Broncs don’t possess one lethal scorer that the Bobcats can focus on, but rather a balanced attack that sports no players in the top-ten in the conference in scoring, but rather five players scattered throughout spots 10 through 20. The Broncs’ offense is lead by freshman Frederick Scott, who averages just under 15 points per game. Still, if the Bobcats contain Scott, there are plenty of other threats that need to be accounted for, and the Bobcats have to be ready for all of them.

Hack-a-Bronc

So, what can a team that struggles to force missed shots do against a team that makes a lot of shots? You can turn up the physicality and sacrifice some foul calls. Since Rider shoots just 62-percent from the free throw line (worst in the MAAC), it may not be a bad idea. Of course, the Bobcats will have to be careful to spread the fouling around and stay out of individual foul trouble, but perhaps a little added aggression with on-ball defending isn’t the worst idea. If the Broncs get off to a hot start from the field, the Bobcats should consider turning up the pressure, even if it means hearing more whistles. The stoppages of play could also take the Rider shooters out of rhythm and give the Bobcats a chance to get back in the game.

If the Bobcats send the Broncs to the free throw line, they need to stay alert on the blocks for those missed free throws, and not just because Rider has a tendency to miss them. The Broncs are the best offensive rebounding team in the MAAC and will look to capitalize on those second chances, which is something that the Bobcats cannot allow if they are to pull off an upset.

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