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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

Friday, January 27, 2012

Jones bounces back to help Rider pound St. Peter's

LAWRENCEVILLE — The sailing hasn’t always been smooth this season for Rider men’s basketball guard Jeff Jones.

There were high expectations placed on the senior’s shoulders. He was an All-League Third Team selection before even playing a game in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. Then again, that’s what’s expected when you score over 500 points at an ACC school in the first three years of your career.

But a month in the season, one that began 1-10 for the Broncs, Jones found himself yanked from the starting lineup and being asked to provide a spark off the bench.

He’s done that in spurts, averaging 12.8 points per game, but not enough for a team that was picked to finish fourth in the league’s preseason poll.

It all came to a boil when he was suspended for the win over Canisius for a violation of team rules.

But Jones worked that issue out over the last few days of practice and had coach Tommy Dempsey predicting a big game from the team’s second leading scorer.

Jones delivered with a game-high 19 points to help Rider crush St. Peter’s, 90-55, Thursday night at Alumni Gymnasium and move into fifth place in the MAAC, a 1/2 game ahead of Niagara and Siena, who visits Lawrenceville Sunday.

“It shows a good sign of his character and where he’s at in this thing,” Dempsey said. “I told my staff, I thought he would step up tonight, and he delivered.”

For his part, Jones said he was just trying to do the little things. He finished 6 of 11 from the field and 5 of 5 from the free throw line.

“Whatever it takes,” he said when asked about bringing a lift off the bench. “In order to win, you have to put the little things aside to get the team to the ultimate goal. That’s a MAAC Championship. Whatever we have to do, I’m in for it.”

The Broncs (8-14, 5-5) will need to finish this three-game homestand strong. They have won two straight, both by 20-plus points after dropping three in a row.

“We thought it was crucial to get all three legs of (the homestand),” Dempsey said. “We got one, now we’ve got two and we have to go get the third one. This is the biggest one because (Siena) has already beaten us.”

Rider jumped out to a quick lead after Novar Gadson scored its first seven points and never looked back. It finished the first half on a 9-2 run to take a 35-24 advantage into the break.

The second half was all Broncs.

A 12-0 run, with five points by Jones, broke open an 11-point game. When Jon Thompson’s fastbreak dunk capped the spurt with 13:23 remaining, the lead was 23-points.

The Broncs were adept at getting out in transition Thursday night. They had 16 fastbreak points and 23 off St. Peter’s turnovers.

Yvon Raymond led the Peacocks (4-17, 3-7) with 13 points. SPC has lost six of its last seven, struggling to replace the four starters it lost from last season’s MAAC Tournament championship team.

Gadson finished with 13 points, Anthony Myles had 12 and Eddie Mitchell 10. Rider also got an active performance from freshman forward Junior Fortunat, who chipped in eight points and five rebounds in 16 minutes.

Jones had 15 of his 19 points in the second half.

“We’ve seen it all,” Jones said. “We were together when we were losing. And now we’re together when we’re winning. Through it all, the coaches, they came to practice everyday not hanging their heads and coached us hard. We’re going to continue to do that.”

NOTES: Senior guard Kevin Noon scored his first career points when he banked home a 3-pointer for Rider’s final three points of the night. Noon was a team manager for his first three years before Dempsey decided to let him dress this season. … Gadson moved past Jack Madden into 15th place on the school’s all-time scoring list. He has 1,350 career points. … Trenton native and Trenton Catholic product Markese Tucker finished with eight points in 24 minutes for St. Peter’s.

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