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Basketball Doubleheader Thursday
Women Host 2nd Place Fairfield, Men Host 1st Place Niagara
LAWRENCEVILLE-Two of the top teams in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference come to town Thursday for a basketball doubleheader.
The Rider women host second place Fairfield at 5pm and the Rider men host first place Niagara at 7:30.
Both games in the newly refurbished Alumni Gymnasium can be seen on the BroncSportsNetwork, with live video streaming on BroncVison and live stats on GameViewer.
Tickets can be purchased online by clicking the "TicketLeap" link in this story or in person on game day at the ticket window in the lobby of Alumni Gymnasium. The ticket booth will open at 4 p.m. for Thursday's double dip.
The Rider women (10-11, 5-5 MAAC) have won three of their last four games, including a 69-57 victory at Fairfield January 27. In that game junior MyNeshia McKenzie compiled 19 points and 12 rebounds, leading Rider to its MAAC-best seventh win on the road.
The Rider men (12-12, 7-5 MAAC) are coming off a road victory of their own, a 64-53 victory at Marist on Sunday. The Rider men have won six of their last nine games.
The Niagara Purple Eagles (14-9, 10-2 MAAC) won seven straight games before losing in double overtime to second place Loyola on February 2. It was Niagara's second straight overtime game, having defeated second place Iona 93-90 on January 31.
Niagara is led by three sophomore guards; Antoine Mason, who is averaging 18.9 points and 4.3 rebounds per game, Juan'ya Green, who is adding 16.7 points per game, and Ameen Tanksley, who is contributing 10.9 points and 6.1 rebounds per game.
The Fairfield women (13-8, 7-3 MAAC) have won six of their last eight games and are led by a pair of 6'1" junior forwards, Katie Cizynski and Brittany Obi-Tabot, who are combining for 23.5 points and 13.9 rebounds per game.
Fairfield has won six of the last seven meetings with Rider.
Niagara has not won in Alumni Gym since the 2006-07 season. Rider has won five of the last six games with Niagara and seven of the last 10.
The last time Rider and Niagara met the game ended in controversy, with the host Purple Eagles winning 84-82. Jonathon Thompson hit a three-point shot at the buzzer that was said to be late after a review of the instant replay system. What the replay system failed to show, however, was that when Rider inbounded the ball to start the final play, the clock started too soon. The referees received a one game suspension from their next MAAC assignment for failure to note the game clock starting early and the Niagara Game Clock Operator & Replay System Operator received public reprimand from the league office for failure to manage the game clock and replay system in the expected manner.
When Niagara visited Rider last year the Broncs came back from a 17-point second half deficit to win 74-73 on Super Bowl Sunday.
The Rider women continue to be led by McKenzie, who is fifth in the MAAC in scoring (13.6 ppg) and leads the MAAC in rebounding (10.0 per game).
The Rider men are led by Thompson and juniors Daniel Stewart and Anthony Myles. The trio combines for 34.6 points and 15.2 rebounds per game. Thompson is fourth in the MAAC in three-point field goal percentage, fifth in overall field goal percentage and sixth in the conference in steals and assist-turnover ratio. Stewart is sixth in the MAAC in rebounding and field goal percentage.
On Saturday the Rider men and women travel to New Rochelle, NY to take on Iona in a doubleheader broadcast on ESPN3.