Morning Run — Game 12: Princeton 62, Rider 45
|Anthony Myles was the lone bright sport for Rider, scoring 18 points/ Photo by JOHN BLAINE|
Quick reaction: Where to begin? Kevin Baggett said Rider has gone backward in its last two games. He's right. The Broncs struggled to score Thursday night, falling to Princeton, 62-45, making it the second time this season they failed to hit 50 points (46 in loss to Stony Brook Nov. 13). Give Princeton credit, Mitch Henderson had his team prepared to break the press — something the Tigers had been struggling with — and did so with relative ease. Princeton got easy baskets on offense and contested everything Rider through up on the other end. The Tigers' size also had an impact. They dominated in the paint (44-22) and out-rebounded the Broncs 36-20.
Stud of the game: In his first career start, Princeton's Hans Brase scored 17 points. He became the first freshman to start a game for the Tigers since Doug Davis on Feb. 21, 2009.
Brase came in for 6-foot-11 center Brendan Connolly and made a difference. At 6-foot-8, Brase is still big enough to see over the defense and he's a better passer and ball handler than Connolly.
“He is another person that can open up the floor," Henderson said. "We’re big, and sometimes slow. It helps to have someone that can really pass.”
For Rider, Anthony Myles scored 18 points on 7 of 12 shooting.
Dud of the game: "You are what you're record says you are."
And at 6-6, Rider is an average team with too many inconsistencies.
Offensively, there is isn't enough ball movement. Too often, the Broncs rely on 1 v. 1 from the perimeter. "We were stagnant on offense and we have that problem a lot," Myles said.
Rider came into Thursday night's game with a 0.6 assist-to-turnover ratio (195 turnovers/ 111 assists), something Baggett called "unacceptable." The Broncs didn't help that number, though, coming up with seven assists on 16 baskets. They had 13 turnovers.
|Santa must be a Rider fan/ Photo by JOHN BLAINE|
The offensive principle — 4-out, 1-in — is the same as it was under Tommy Dempsey, but this team lacks the punch, although it has some gifted scorers, that Dempsey's teams always had. Maybe there was so much focus on improving the defense — and it has been significantly better — that some of the offense was sacrificed.
That's OK, but you're still not going to win many games when you can't hit the 60-point mark (Rider has failed to get there four times this season and is 0-4 in those games).
Danny Stewart needs to get involved. He got shut out Thursday (Princeton with all its size is a tough matchup for him, especially when he drew Ian Hummer), but he has a decent low-post game. He can score with his back to the basket or face up from 12-feet and drive. There has to be more of an effort to get him some early touches on the block because he's not a threat to score when he pops out to the 3-point line to catch the ball — the guy hasn't made a jumper outside of 12 feet his entire career.
Baggett said there could be changes for next Friday's game at Rutgers.
"I'm looking for that spark from someone on our team," he said.
- The league is going to a 20-game schedule next season when Monmouth and Quinnipiac join. Each team will play a home-and-home.
"A 20-game double round robin schedule that was unanimously approved by the athletic directors provides equity for all of our competing student-athletes as they work towards the goal of a MAAC championship," said commissioner Richard Ensor in a statement. "I am also pleased to develop a format that brings all of our coaches, student-athletes and fans to Sprinfield to enjoy our championship experience."
The conference tournament format is also changing next year. Because the league is expanding to 11 teams — Loyola leaves for the Patriot League next season — only the top five teams get a bye. Teams 6-11 have to play on opening night.
|Thursday||Women's Opening Round||9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m.|
|Men's Opening Round||5 p.m., 7 p.m., 9 p.m.|
|Friday||Women's Quarterfinals||12 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 5 p.m., 7:30 p.m.|
|Saturday||Men's Quarterfinals||12 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 6 p.m., 8:30 p.m.|
|Sunday||Women's Semifinals||11 a.m., 1:30 p.m.|
|Men's Semifinals||4:30 p.m., 7 p.m.|
|Monday||Women's Championship Final||12 p.m.|
|Men's Championship Final||7 or 9 p.m.|