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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Broncs have streak snapped by Canisius

LAWRENCEVILLE — Riding a wave of momentum with a chance to establish itself among the conference elite, Kevin Baggett was instead left searching for answers Friday night following Rider’s 67-50 loss to Canisius.

The Broncs had their five-game winning streak halted, slipping into a fourth-place tie with the Golden Griffins at 6-3 in the league.

Niagara, Iona and Loyola were all winners Friday, dropping Rider two games off the Purple Eagles’ first-place pace.

“We didn’t have it today,” Baggett said. “They just out-toughed us. I’m pissed at some of our guys that didn’t meet their toughness. When we don’t do that, we’re not a very good team.”


That was true Friday.
 
Rider allowed Canisius, which won for just the second time (2-14) in this building, to shoot 61.5 percent in the second half, as a three-point game at the break became a 17-point rout.

When Billy Baron glided in for a layup 5:45 into the second half, it capped a 9-0 run and 17-4 start to the period for the Griffs.

The Broncs (11-10, 6-3) were also hammered on the boards. Canisius outrebounded them 42-22, grabbing 14 on the offensive glass that led to 22 second-chance points.

“We took them too lightly,” said guard Tommy Pereira, who was the only Rider player to reach double figures, with 11 points. “We have a target on our backs now because we’re with the elite now.”

The Griffs (13-7, 6-3) looked elite Friday, continuing their turnaround under first-year coach Jim Baron.

Baron, winner of 400 career games at St. Francis (Pa.), St. Bonaventure, Rhode Island and Canisius, also got a boost when Billy, his son, followed him from Rhode Island and was granted a waiver by the NCAA to play immediately.

Baron came in averaging 16.4 points per game, and added a game-high 17. Jordan Heath, the Griffs’ 6-foot-10 center, also finished with 17, including 3 of 7 from beyond the arc.

The bigger Canisius, which starts Heath and 6-6 Chris Manhertz and brings 6-9 Josiah Heath off the bench, created a matchup problem for Rider, making it difficult for the Broncs to score.

Pereira got his third consecutive start -- Baggett opted to bring the returning Nurideen Lindsey off the bench -- and was the only Bronc to make more than two field goals.

Danny Stewart (six points, 16 minutes) was glued to the bench for all but four minutes in the second half and Jon Thompson (two points, 1 of 6) was surprisingly ineffective.

“Danny and Jon didn’t have it and I noticed that right away,” Baggett said. “That’s cause for a concern as a coach.”

Baggett wouldn’t blame the matchup.

“If Jordan Heath wants to shoot 3s, I’ll take that,” the coach said. “At 46 years old, I might even make some if I’m left that open.”

He simply stated the obvious.
 
“They out-toughed us,” Baggett said, “and we got shellacked.”

NOTES: Rider returns to action Sunday when Manhattan visits for a 4 p.m. tip. … Canisius assistant Fred Dupree held the same position at Rider under former coach Don Harnum. When Harnum took over as athletic director, Dupree left for the College of Charleston. Tommy Dempsey replaced Harnum and hired Baggett to the position Dupree vacated.

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