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The Trentonian's Full-Court Press blog is back and improved. We'll keep you updated on everything you need to know about Rider and Princeton hoops as well as the college basketball landscape.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Game 13: Rider (6-6) at Rutgers (8-2)


Eli Carter averages 16.8 points per game for Rutgers/ Photo by JOHN BLAiNE

Who: Rider (6-6) at Rutgers (8-2)

When: 3 p.m., Friday, Louis Brown Athletic Center, 107.7 FM The Bronc, Sirius Radio Channel 93 (Rutgers audio)

Last time out: Rider lost to Princeton, 62-45; Rutgers def. Howard, 79-55

Background: If Rider is going to avoid a three-game losing streak it has to do so on the road at Rutgers.

It is a daunting task.

The Scarlet Knights have won four straight and eight of nine since an upset loss to St. Peter’s on opening night.


They have two guards — sophomores Eli Carer and Myles Mack — that can score in bunches, combining for over 32 points per game and a big man — 6-foot-9, 250-pound Wally Judge — that can pound the offensive glass.

Rutgers is playing its final game without coach Mike Rice, who was suspended by the school for three games and fined $50,000 for a violation of athletic department policy. David Cox took over as interim coach and guided the Knights to a pair of wins over UAB and Howard.

Rice returns for the Big East opener Jan. 2 at Syracuse.

If Rider can take anything from the series history, although Rutgers leads the all-time series 14-1, the games tend to be close.

The most recent meeting, during the 2009-10 season at the RAC, went to overtime before the Scarlet Knights won, 80-70. The previous year, Rutgers needed a late rally to down the Broncs at the Sun Center (then Sovereign Bank Arena), 66-64.

Three of the contests have gone to overtime (1983-84 and 86-87).

Rider’s lone win was in Piscataway, 61-57, on Dec. 21, 2007.

The Scarlet Knights are 1-1 against the MAAC, falling to St. Peter’s and beating Iona at Madison Square Garden.

Anthony Myles (13.1 ppg) leads the Broncs in scoring and both Jon Thompson and Nurideen Lindsey average over 11 per game.

Lindsey has struggled mightily the last two games, both losses, averaging two points per game.
But just about everybody have played poorly the last two contests. “We’ve gone backward the last two games,” coach Kevin Baggett said.

The Broncs turned the ball over 30 times in a loss to Fairfield and shot 36.4 percent coming off an 11-day layoff against Princeton.

Baggett said he could shake some things up.

Sophomore forward Junior Fortunat could be re-inserted into the starting lineup. Also, look for the Broncs to get Danny Stewart involved early. The junior didn’t score against Princeton, struggling with the Tigers’ size, but could have an opportunity for points when guarded by 6-foot-8 Austin Johnson.

Tip-off Friday is at 3 p.m. It was originally scheduled for 7:30, but moved up to accommodate fans that want to watch the Rutgers football team play Virginia Tech in the Russell Athletic Bowl. That game kicks off at 5:30.

Projected starting lineups: Rider: G-Jon Thompson (Sr. 11.1 pg), G-Nurideen Lindsey (Jr. 11.8 ppg), G-Anthony Myles (Jr. 13.1 ppg), F-Danny Stewart (Jr. 9 ppg), F-Junior Fortunat (So. 4.4 ppg).
Rutgers: G-Eli Carter (So. 16.8 ppg), G-Myles Mack (So. 16 ppg), G-Dane Miller (Sr. 8.6 ppg), F-Austin Johnson (Sr. 5.3 ppg), F-Wally Judge (Jr. 7.2 ppg).

Rider player to watch: If the Broncs want to spring the upset, they need a big game from Lindsey. He’s been up and down in this his first season at Rider, but played well when Rider was on the road at South Carolina and SMU. He’s also coming off a pair of performance where he wasn’t at his best. There were high expectations placed on his shoulders, and at times, he’s put too much pressure on himself. The Broncs are at their best when he can score, but to do so he has to stop turning the ball over and take what the defense gives him — that means pulling up from 12-15 feet and shooing a mid-range jumper.

Rutgers player to watch: Carter and Mack are the players that can fill it up, but Judge may be the key figure. At 6-foot-9, 250-pounds, he has more bulk that anyone Rider can throw at him. Judge averages 7.2 points and 6.9 rebounds, respectively, but this is a Broncs squad that got beat up on the glass by Princeton. Offensive rebounding opportunities will be available for Judge, and if the Scarlet Knights get extra possessions, Rider is unlikely to win.

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