LAWRENCEVILLE — When he was a player, Kevin Baggett used to look at
an opponent’s zone defense and lick his lips. He knew there were spaces
to attack and open shots on the floor.
For a reason he couldn’t quite figure out, that didn’t translate to
his Rider team Sunday afternoon in a 62-51 loss to Manhattan at Alumni
The 2-3 zone the Jaspers threw at the Broncs might as well have been from Mars.
“We looked at it as if it was some foreign object,” Baggett said.
“The way they disguised it, my guards thought it was something else when
it wasn’t. We had no answers for it.”
Rider managed just 14 points in the paint and fired up a 6-for-22
from behind the arc. When the ball did get down to Danny Stewart —
unlike the first meeting, when the junior had 22 points and 16 rebounds —
he was double-teamed immediately.
Manhattan coach Steve Masiello said that was a key to taking the Broncs out of rhythm.
“We learned our lesson when he had a double-double at halftime up at
our place,” said Masiello, whose Jaspers limited Stewart to four points
and seven boards. “We didn’t want him beating us tonight. We said we
were going to make someone else beat us.”
Nobody was up to the task.
Jon Thompson scored 18 points, but
Anthony Myles was the only other Bronc to reach double figures, with 10.
Rider shot 39.6 percent (19 of 48) for the game.
Shane Richards hit 4 of 5 from beyond the arc to lead the Jaspers with 19 points. Rhamel Brown added 10.
Manhattan (6-14, 4-6), which snapped a three-game skid, seized
control with a 15-2 run early in the second half. On three straight
trips the Jaspers dissected the Broncs’ press for open 3s in the corner. Twice Ryan McCoy — a Montgomery High product who finished with eight
points — delivered the blow.
Richards’ 3-pointer capped the run with 14:13 remaining and gave Manhattan a 47-32 advantage.
“We just made the extra passes,” said McCoy, who was also involved in
an altercation with Nurideen Lindsey following a hard foul that sent
the Broncs’ guard flying over the press table. “We were really
unselfish. We passed up a good shot to get a great shot.”
Rider (11-11, 6-4) lost its second straight after entering the weekend on a five-game winning streak.
Contending for the league title — Niagara picked up a late win at
Canisius to go three games clear of the fourth-place Broncs — is a
longshot. Now Rider is focused on avoiding another long losing streak
like the five-game skid through December.
“It scares the hell out of me,” the coach said. “You have to go into
the locker room and look guys in their eyes and see just how much they
want it. They have to figure it out too. We don’t always have the
answers as coaches. It comes from the players too. They have to step
Next up is two-game road swing beginning Friday night at Fairfield and ending Sunday afternoon at Marist.
Since the senior Thompson has been here, he remembers being a good
road team. He hopes that can help, but one thing is for sure:
“We don’t want to go back on a losing streak,” Thompson said. “We knew how that felt.”
NOTES: Sophomore forward Junior Fortunat did not play because of a
concussion he suffered in practice Saturday. … The Broncs were
outrebounded 33-21. During the five-game win streak, they won the battle
on the boards in each game. They’ve lost on the glass in the last two. …
Rider coaches wore sneakers with their suits for Coaches vs. Cancer.