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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, December 7, 2012

Game 10: Rider (5-4) at Siena (2-7)

Who: Rider (5-4) at Siena (2-7)

When: 7 p.m., Friday, Times Union Center, Time Warner Cable, 107.7 FM The Bronc

Last time out: Rider def. Drexel, 75-66; Siena lost to St. Bonaventure, 58-43.

Background: Kevin Baggett won’t let his team be fooled by Siena’s sputtering start.

He knows going into Albany isn’t an easy task.

“I’ve seen Siena lose the last two or three, so I know this will be a tough game,” said Baggett, whose Broncs are 10-20 against the Saints in regular-season MAAC games. “Mitch (Buonaguro) will have those guys ready to go and they need a win. This is not a good time to go in there.”

The Saints have lost five straight and come into the MAAC opener for both 0-3 at home and 2-7 overall.

“We’re just missing shots that we normally make,” said standout forward O.D. Anosike. “We have to put together a good offensive and defensive game. The defense has been there, it’s just a matter of picking up the offense a little more.”

Baggett can relate to what Siena’s going through.

Remember, Rider, although Baggett was on the bench as an assistant, found itself in a similar spot last year, opening up 1-10.

“It’s tough because you get the pressure of the fans who are used to winning,” Baggett said. “Secondly, they are putting pressure on themselves because they’re supposed to be good. That’s added pressure on them.”

The key to snapping out of a funk like this?

Baggett said patience.

“I think once those guys understand that it’s a long season and to relax — that’s what we had to understand — they are going to be right there in the league,” Baggett said.
Conference play is also a brand-new season.

“At the end of the day, it’s about our league,” said the first-year coach. “On Friday, they are 0-0 when it comes time to play. I’m sure Mitch will be selling that as well.”

The Saints rely on Anosike, the first-team all-MAAC selection. The senior is averaging 12.9 points and 13.3 rebounds per game, respectively.

“The minute you relax, is the minute they throw it into him and he scores over you,” Baggett said. “He’s physical down there and has a great understanding of where the ball is going when it comes off the rim. He’s like a magnet. He’s going to get it 70 percent of the time.”

Baggett, who help mold Jason Thompson into a lottery pick, compared Anosike to the Denver Nuggets Kenneth Faried.

“I think he has a chance,” said Baggett when asked about Anosike’s NBA potential. “There’s always a role for guys that have one particular thing they are good at. The one thing he is; is a really good rebounder.”

Projected starting lineups: Rider: G-Jon Thompson (Sr. 10.8 ppg), G-Nurideen Lindsey (Jr. 14 ppg), G-Anthony Myles (Jr. 13.2 ppg), F-Danny Stewart (Jr. 10.7 ppg), C-Dera Nd-Ezuma (Sr. 2.6 ppg).
Siena: G-Evan Hymes (So. 13.1 ppg), G-Rob Poole (So. 11.8 ppg), F-Trenity Burdine (So. 7.5 ppg), F-O.D. Anosike (Sr. 12.9 ppg), C-Imoh Silas (So. 1.8 ppg).

Rider player to watch: Stewart is coming off a 21-point performance in the win over Drexel, but his contribution Friday is going to be how he mixes it up with Anosike. Stewart, Nd-Ezuma and Junior Fortunat are all likely going to have a turn banging against Siena’s big man. The key is keeping him off the offensive boards so the Saints don’t get second-chance opportunities.

Siena player to watch: The diminutive Hymes is coming off a 2 for 10 (0 for 4 from 3) performance in the loss to St. Bonaventure. Listed generously at 5-foot-8, he is still the Saint’s leading scorer. With Rakeem Brookins (back) out, the primary ball-handling responsibilities are once again with Hymes.


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