After Friday night's 89-56 win over Albany, the Panthers play again Sunday at 6 pm at the Pete against the Rider Broncs out of the Metro Atlantic. Sunday's game will be Alumni Day. Head on over to the Pete to see some Panther greats like Don Hennon, DeJuan Blair, Sam Young, Brandin Knight, Billy Knight, and perhaps the greatest of them all...Ryan Tiesi.
Team: Rider Broncs (0-0 MAAC, 0-1)
Good Wins: N/A
Bad Losses: @Robert Morris?
The Broncs finished last season 23-11 and 13-5 in the MAAC with a berth to the CIT Tournament. Rider was effective on offense, scoring 73 points per game while averaging just under 47% shooting. However, they lose three starters from last season's team, including two of their top scorers in Justin Robinson and Mike Ringgold. But they do return the second leading scorer from a year ago in Novar Gadson, who averaged around 13 points a game.
The backcourt will be led by Gadson and Jeff Jones, a transfer from Virginia. Jones, the 2007 Gatorade Player of the Year from Pennsylvania, averaged six points a game. Rider coach Tommy Dempsey thinks Jones will come in and be one of the top guards in the MAAC. Joining Gadson and Jones in the backcourt will be Anthony Myles, who led the Broncs in scoring in their game against Robert Morris with 20 points.
The frontcourt will feature Brandon Penn and MAAC Rookie of the Year Danny Stewart. Stewart got to spend last season playing and practicing with Ringgold and Dempsey really thinks that that experience will allow Stewart to accept more responsibility and more playing time this season. Penn improved his play greatly a year ago, averaging just under ten points a game and shot 42% from three-point distance.
Coming off the bench will feature Jonathan Thompson, who started 16 games last season, but missed the postseason after violating team rules. He figures to be back and will play a key role in the backcourt for the Broncs. Thompson led the MAAC in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.3:1). Also coming off the bench will be Junior Fortunat, a freshman, who is projected to be one of the top first-year post players in the MAAC.
Against the Broncs, Pitt will have to keep the perimeter players in check. Rider finished 15th in all of Division I in three-point shooting at 39% (for those wondering, Pitt was 12th at 39.5%). Pitt should be able to control the glass like they did against Albany as Rider was not a good team at rebounding, averaging 1 less rebound a game than their opposition. Against Robert Morris, the Broncs were outrebounded 41-28. Pitt should also look to force turnovers. Rider had 25 turnovers and just 6 assists against RMU.