Rider (5-4) at (8) Villanova (10-0)

The Sports NetworkDecember 21, 2013 

GAME NOTES: In the last game before a visit to former Big East foe Syracuse, the eight-rankled Villanova Wildcats will play host to the Rider Broncs in a non-conference bout at the Pavilion.

The Broncs have a bit of momentum on their side, with wins in their last three contests. The most recent decision ended with Rider on top of Wagner, 79-58. The victory has Kevin Baggett's squad at 5-4 on the season, including a 2-2 mark on the road. Rider will host Penn next before getting back to work in its Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference slate.

Whatever momentum the Broncs have, pales in comparison to Villanova's. The Wildcats are off to their first 10-0 start since the 2005-06 season after besting cross-town rival La Salle (73-52) on Sunday. The win came at the Pavilion, where they are 6-0. Next up is a major test against the currently second-ranked Orange.

Villanova has won 14 straight meetings with Rider and leads the all-time series, 21-2. The Wildcats claimed a 108-61 triumph at the Pavilion when the teams last squared off during the 2006-07 season.

Zedric Sadler scored 20 points and Rider connected on 53.2 percent of its shots from the floor to top Wagner. The Broncs also doubled up the Seahawks from beyond the arc (24-12) and held a 41-30 advantage in rebounds. Those efforts allowed them to overcome an incredible 26 turnovers.

In comparison to the rest of the MAAC there are not many squads as offensively potent as Rider. The Broncs are netting 80.9 points per game and connecting on 46.9 percent of their shots from the floor. However opponents have shot an even better percentage (.489) leading to a slim scoring differential (+1.5). Anthony Myles (18.7 ppg) leads a quartet of double-figure scorers, though he finished with only eight points against Wagner. Daniel Stewart (16.9 ppg, 6 rpg) is the second option and one of a few players doing much work on the glass. Jimmie Taylor (12.7 ppg) can also be called on to knock down a few shots, as can Sadler (11 ppg, 3.4 apg). There isn't much depth though, with no other player putting in more than six points per game.

Even though it was a Big 5 rivalry game, the Wildcats didn't receive much of a challenge in the bout with La Salle. Villanova limited the Explorers to just six field goals in the final 20 minutes, while having an 18-10 scoring edge off turnovers in the game overall.

Villanova has been scoring at even more dramatic pace than Rider, netting 82 points per game. The Wildcats also rank among the 20 best teams in the nation in assists (17 pg) and rebounds (42.5 pg), while clamping down on defense and allowing just 63.7 points per game on 37.8 percent shooting. JayVaughn Pinkston (16.7 ppg, 5.5 rpg) and James Bell (16.1 ppg, 7 rpg) are the best scorers and rebounders for the squad, though Hilliard (14.5 ppg, 4.4 rpg) certainly does his part. Pinkston had only seven points against La Salle but did bring in seven rebounds. Bell had only three points on 1-of-7 shooting. Ryan Arcidiacono (9.2 ppg) is a gunner from 3-point range, but has disappointed by netting just 24.6 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc.

Rider can score but that is really it. The Wildcats have excelled in all phases and should easily dictate the pace en route to a victory.

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