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Welcome back to the Trentonian's Full-Court Press blog. Yes, we're still alive, and with the 2015-16 season rapidly approaching, it's time to fire up the old blog for another season. Check back here throughout the year for updates on all things Rider and Princeton, including coverage of both the MAAC and Ivy League. Feel free to drop me a line on twitter @kj_franko (https://twitter.com/kj_franko) or email kfranko@trentonian.com.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The bad news and the silver lining from Saturday's games

Rider's Tommy Dempsey was one of several MAAC coaches pondering what went wrong.

Remember last week, when the MAAC was the toast of mid-major college hoops after going 5-2 on opening night?

That seems like 10 years ago tonight, after a day in which seemingly everything went wrong. On a day when Rider was the only team that seemingly stood no chance of winning, the league went 3-5 and Siena took itself out of top 25 consideration by blowing an early lead and losing at Temple.

Making matters worse was the way a few of these teams lost.

Rider went into Rupp Arena hoping to keep the game relatively close and ended up getting its doors blown off by a Kentucky team that suddenly figured out how to play perimeter defense. Saint Peter's, which had been impressive in its first two games, acted out of sorts with a tip later than 6 a.m. and lost at home to Youngstown State. Perhaps worst of all, Loyola shot an absurd 27 percent from the field in a 63-44 loss to Mount Saint Mary's.

Some of what took place Saturday was what many observers expected.

MAAC fans should be pleased that Iona has looked like a truly improved team and that Canisius avoided embarrassment by taking care of a dreadful Saint Francis of New York team. Then there's Manhattan, which lost at home to a good William & Mary team that had no business entering Draddy Gym as a two-point underdog.

There was, though, a significant silver lining on an otherwise gloomy day: On the road against a Central Florida team that had beaten its first three opponents by an average of 12 points per game, Niagara posted a thoroughly impressive 63-46 win.

The Purple Eagles (3-1) held Marcus Jordan and Co. to 31.6 shooting, including an ice-cold 17.4 percent from 3-point range. And that was without Tyrone Lewis, who missed his second straight game with a foot injury.

With Lewis out, Joe Mihalich played his starters a combined 170 minutes, and the Eagles struggled to find offense. But Anthony Nelson (11 points, 5 assists, 38 minutes) helped Niagara come up with more than enough scoring.

After coming unglued in the last two minutes against a lousy Auburn team, the Eagles deserved to take a back seat to Siena and Rider last week in the MAAC pecking order.

But they gave us strong evidence yesterday -- against a team that beat that same Auburn team by 10 points its last time out -- that they haven't regressed from last year, when -- in case anyone forgot -- they won 26 games and reached the MAAC title game.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone went crazy about that ONE Rider win but it was clear all along NIAGARA IS STILL BETTER.

November 22, 2009 at 2:36 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is certainly interesting for me to read this article. Thank author for it. I like such themes and everything connected to them. I definitely want to read a bit more on that blog soon.

November 22, 2009 at 3:11 PM 
Blogger Bryan Y. said...

aaaaand Niagara promptly loses to austin peay, huh anonymous? Where's your big talk now, d'ick? Try beating austin peay before you think you can play with the big boys, loser

November 22, 2009 at 11:09 PM 

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