Rider’s chances to win the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference took a serious blow when they officially ruled senior Matt Lopez out for the season, after he suffered a torn ACL in his right knee against Quinnipiac.
Head coach Kevin Baggett confirmed that the senior, who had spent seasons at La Salle and Utah State prior to joining the Broncs, will miss the remainder of his final season. The 7′ senior missed the team’s last game against Niagara and ranks in the top 15 in the conference in scoring (12.7 ppg), third in rebounding (7.7 rpg) and leads the conference in field goal percentage (58.4%).
The Broncs and Lopez applied to the NCAA for a waiver last season when he transferred to the New Jersey school, but it was denied. The senior found success in his final season of eligibility, one of the three seasons he was able to play after transferring three times. A typical surgery and recovery from an ACL surgery is approximately eight to 12 months.
“We all just feel bad for Matt with all the bad luck he’s been through at the different schools,” Baggett said to Kyle Franko of The Trentonian. “It’s just tough because he was having a great year and the possibility this team could really do something.”
Rider is currently second in the conference standings, sitting a game ahead of Manhattan and Monmouth, and is guaranteed a first round bye to Saturday’s MAAC tournament quarterfinals.
Ryan Restivo wrote the America East conference preview for the 2014-15 Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook. He covers the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, the America East conference and Hofstra for Big Apple Buckets. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanarestivo or contact Ryan at rrestivo[at]nycbuckets.com.