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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 ( or email

Saturday, January 28, 2012

GAMEDAY: Rider, Siena hook up in key MAAC game

Who: Siena (10-10, 5-5) at Rider (8-14, 5-5)

When: Sunday, Alumni Gymnasium, 2 p.m., 107.7 FM The Bronc.

Last time out: Rider def. St. Peter’s, 90-55; Siena def. Marist, 66-55.

Background: Tommy Dempsey briefly sat his team down after Siena rallied to beat Iona last Monday and delivered a simple message.

“Keep pushing,” Dempsey told his team, “because you win this regular season championship and you win this conference championship on the floor.”

Rider came out and beat St. Peter’s by 35 points, setting up the biggest game to date Sunday afternoon against Siena.

The Broncs and Saints are tied for fifth place in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference at 5-5. Siena holds the tiebreaker after an 83-79 in Albany on Jan. 12.

But that score is deceiving because the Saints held a 22-point lead midway through the second half, and although Rider made a run, Dempsey knows his team was second-best all night.

“They took it to us, regardless of the final score, we got dominated up there,” he said referring to the first meeting. “We made a run at them, but they really put one on us.”

OD Anosike, who leads the nation in rebounding and has 16 straight games with a double-double, had 23 points and 14 rebounds in that game while freshman Evan Hymes finished with 20.

Dempsey said they have to be more physical with Anosike but a big problem from the first game was the easy baskets Siena was able to get.

A lot has also been made of the Saints primarily using six players, but Dempsey isn’t buying into that.

“It’s a nice story, the six guys, and they are undermanned, no question about that, but I think the focus is on playing good basketball,” he said. “Too many people are taking the approach, ‘you have to do this, you have to that.’ You have to play your brand of basketball better than they paly their brand of basketball.”

Siena’s won five of its last seven (two straight) while Rider has also won two in a row. The Broncs, playing their third consecutive game at home, have five of their remaining eight league games at Alumni Gym.

Both teams are a 1/2 game behind fourth-place Fairfield. Iona, Manhattan and Loyola (all 8-2) are in a three-way tie for first.

But Rider’s business at hand Sunday is all that’s on Dempsey’s mind.

“You don’t want to get swept, especially by a team you’re competing against,” he said. “This is probably the biggest game we’ve had so far. We’re going to be ready.”

Projected starting lineups: Rider: G-Eddie Mitchell (Fr., 4.8 ppg), G-Jon Thompson (Jr., 7 ppg), F-Novar Gadson (Sr., 9.4 ppg), F-Brandon Penn (Sr., 12.6 ppg), F-Danny Stewart (So., 12.5 ppg).
Siena: G-Evan Hymes (Fr., 14.1 ppg), G-Kyle Downey (Sr., 12.7 ppg), F-Owen Wignot (Sr., 5.7 ppg), F-Brandon Walters (Sr., 6.1 ppg), F-OD Anosike (Jr., 15.2 ppg).

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