Game 1 Preview: Robert Morris (0-0) at Rider (0-0)
|Coron Williams lit the Broncs up for 28 points last year/ AP Photo|
Who: Robert Morris (0-0) at Rider (0-0)
When: Friday, 7 p.m., Alumni Gymnasium, 107.7 FM The Bronc
Last Time Out: Rider def. Scranton, 76-59 (Exh.); Robert Morris def. Saint Vincent, 81-67 (Exh.)
Background: The Broncs haven’t forgotten what happened when these two met a year ago in the season opener.
Robert Morris 83, Rider 57.
“They put it on us pretty good,” said first-year coach Kevin Baggett.
The two open the season against each other again Friday, this time in Lawrenceville, and the Broncs have a chance to pay back the Colonials.
Baggett doesn’t look at it like that.
“It’s not a bulletin-board thing,” Baggett said. “It’s a matter of getting off to a better start than we had last year.”
In that 26-point loss, Coron Williams scored a career-high 28 points, knocking down five 3-pointers.
Williams is one of eight returning players for Andy Toole’s Colonials, who went 26-11 last season and reached the CIT quarterfinals.
Senior guard Velton Jones led the team in scoring (16 ppg) and is back to run the show. RMU won’t have 6-foot-7 forward Lijah Thompson (7.3 ppg, 4.2 rpg) — he’s out for the year with a knee injury.
Baggett is still expecting a stern opening-night test.
“Honestly, if it could have been any other game, I’d be happy,” Baggett said with a laugh. “You have to play the teams on your schedule. It will be a good chance for us to see where we’re at. I’m not going to weigh everything on one game. At the end of the day, regardless win or lose, we still have to get better and our guys know that.”
Projected Starting Lineups: Rider: G-Nurideen Lindsey (Jr. 11.1 ppg with St. John’s), G-Jon Thompson (Sr. 8.1 ppg), G-Anthony Myles (Jr. 10.1 ppg), F-Danny Stewart (Jr. 11.1 ppg), F-Junior Fortunat (So. 3.8 ppg).
Robert Morris: G-Velton Jones (Sr. 16 ppg), G-Coron Williams (Jr. 10.8 ppg), F-Russell Johnson (Sr. 8.5 ppg), F-Vaughn Morgan (Jr. 16. 1 ppg at Southwestern Christian College), Mike McFadden (Jr. 8.4 ppg).
Rider Player to Watch: There are a lot of expectations on Lindsey, the St. John’s transfer, to be a star. He looked passive in the first half of the exhibition before springing to life in the second, scoring nine of his 10 points. For Rider to be successful, Lindsey has to find the right balance between scoring and setting up teammates.
Robert Morris Player to Watch: Williams hit five 3-pointers in the game last season and will have Rider’s attention. Look for the Broncs to run him off the 3-point line and make him put the ball on the floor. If the Colonials get hot from behind the arc, it could be a disastrous debut for Baggett.