LAWRENCEVILLE — Each day in practice, Rider coach Kevin Baggett asks his team to bring energy.
For the first 10 minutes Thursday night, that was exactly what the Broncs lacked.
It cost them in the end.
Rider fell behind by 18 in the first
half, and although it pulled within six twice, it didn’t have enough in
the tank, falling, 63-52, to La Salle at Alumni Gymnasium.
Baggett attributed it to a lack preparation.
“You’re going to play how you practice,” said the first-year coach,
who saw his team turn the ball over 18 times, many of them unforced. “I
was concerned how we were going to play today because we didn’t practice
That was evident early.
Asked why they got off to a sluggish start, guard Anthony Myles only mustered one word.
“Preparation,” he said.
La Salle (4-1) knocked down its first
three shots from behind the arc, sprinting out to a 30-12 lead midway
through the opening 20 minutes.
“My starters weren’t ready to play today,” Baggett said.
Tyreek Duren led all scorers with 20 points and Ramon Galloway added
17 for the Explorers, who were coming off a huge win over Big 5 rival
Villanova, in which they snapped a 10-game losing streak against the Wildcats.
Myles and Danny Stewart led the Broncs with 12 points each.
When Rider (4-4) twice got within six and had the ball, it turned it over on its next possession.
“It’s hard to simulate how we pressure because a lot of teams don’t
really pressure 94 feet,” said Galloway, who played a key defensive
role, holding Nurideen Lindsey — Rider’s leading scorer — to five
“We do that all day, every day in practice. We go at each other
because we’re not going to get better on defense or offense. It takes
people out of their rhythm. They’re used to coming down with no
The Explorers still needed some timely baskets from Galloway and Duren to hold off the Broncs.
After Rider got within 49-43 after a pair of free throws by Zedric
Sadler, Galloway got into the lane and hit a tough floater. He followed
that with a 3-pointer and Duren finished a 7-1 spurt with a basket.
With La Salle leading 56-44 and 4:21 to go, Rider was spent.
“It takes a lot (out of you),” said Stewart, referring to the team’s
early deficit. “We came out slow and when you come out slow, you’re
going to play from behind.”
Duren and Galloway combined for four of the Explorers’ six 3-pointers in the first half. Duren made a pair of free throws with 8:20 remaining, giving La Salle its largest lead, 30-12.
“We spotted them 20 points at the beginning of the game, which is the
difference when you’re trying to grind it out,” Baggett said.
The Broncs didn’t help their cause with 12 turnovers in the opening
20 minutes. At one point, they had more turnovers (nine) than field
Rider did tighten up its defense, holding the Explorers to four
points over the final eight minutes, crawling back into the game.
Stewart’s layup capped an 11-4 run to end the half that left the Broncs trailing 34-23 at intermission.
Rider also hurt itself at the free-throw line, connecting on just 12 of 22.
That, combined with the turnovers, was a recipe for a loss.
“If you go back to the things that have hurt us against Stony Brook
and on the road, you’re not going to beat a good team going 12 for 22,”
Baggett said. “When you turn it over 18 times — 12 in the first half
alone — you dig yourself a big hole when you do those things.”
NOTES: Khalid Lewis, the former all-state guard out of Trenton
Catholic, is on the La Salle roster. He is sitting out this season under
NCAA rules after transferring from Delaware. As a freshman, he averaged
5.2 points per game, starting all 32 games for the Blue Hens. … Rider
shot 2 of 7 from beyond the arc. The seven attempts are the fewest this
season …The Broncs are back in action Saturday, travelling to Drexel for
a noon tip.