Stevie Jordan goes up for a layup against Manhattan. (Photo by The Rider News)
By Brandon Scalea (@brandonscalea)
Two Big East powerhouses and an emerging Big Ten squad highlight the 2017-18 non-conference schedule for Rider, a source close to the program confirmed.
The Broncs will play at Xavier, a team that reached the Elite Eight of last year’s NCAA Tournament. Two weeks later, Rider will meet Providence, another NCAA Tournament participant, for the second time in three years. Those two challenging road games will be on November 13 and November 29, respectively. Three days before Christmas, the Broncs will head to Happy Valley for a game against Penn State, a team that has been on the rise the last two seasons.
Rider, which finished fifth in the MAAC last season before falling to eventual champion Iona in the conference tournament, will open its season at home against Hampton. The game will be on November 10 at 8 p.m. The season opener is the second game of a home-and-home series with the Pirates, whom the Broncs defeated 67-56 on opening night last year. After the game in Cincinnati against Xavier, Rider returns home on November 15 to play Hartford. The Broncs beat the Hawks by double digits last year, and in double overtime in 2015-16.
Rider then travels down to the nation’s capital for a November 20 matchup with George Washington, a team that will be two seasons removed from a National Invitation Tournament championship. The Colonials play in the Atlantic 10 Conference. The Broncs’ annual regular season tournament will be the Las Vegas Classic this year, where they will play two games on November 23 and 24. The eight-team tournament consists of high and mid-major teams.
The Broncs return from Sin City to contest a three-game road swing, first traveling to Providence before visiting Drexel on December 2 in Philadelphia, and concluding the journey four days later against Robert Morris, the 2015 Northeast Conference champions.
Rounding off the non-conference schedule are two games against schools in the New York metropolitan area, Hofstra and Wagner, before the trek to Penn State. The Broncs welcome Joe Mihalich and the Pride to Lawrenceville on December 9, and host the Seahawks on December 16.
Rider’s full schedule, including MAAC games, will be made available at a later date.
2017-18 Rider non-conference schedule
Saturday, Oct. 28 — at Lafayette (exhibition)
Saturday, November 4 — Exhibition game (opponent TBD)
Friday, November 10 — vs. Hampton
Monday, November 13 — at Xavier
Wednesday, November 15 — vs. Hartford
Monday, November 20 — at George Washington
Thursday, November 23 — Las Vegas Classic Game 1
Friday, November 24 — Las Vegas Classic Game 2
Saturday, December 2 — at Drexel
Wednesday, December 6 — at Robert Morris
Saturday, December 9 — vs. Hofstra
Saturday, December 16 — vs. Wagner
Friday, December 22 — at Penn State