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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, January 25, 2013

Game 21: Canisius (12-7, 5-3) at Rider (11-9, 6-2)

Jim Baron has orchestrated the turnaround at Canisius/ AP Photo

Who: Canisius (12-7, 5-3) at Rider (11-9, 6-2).

When: 7 p.m., Friday, Alumni Gymnasium, 107.7 FM The Bronc.
Last time out: Rider def. Iona, 67-62; Canisius def. Siena, 76-44.

Background: The Golden Griffins are one of the surprise stories of the season.

After winning five games — just one in the MAAC — a year ago, new coach Jim Baron has guided Canisius to an impressive turnaround.

“I did know that we had some talented guys,” said Baron, referencing second team all-league selection Harold Washington, the lone bright spot from a 5-25 season. “I think a lot of it is a wait and see attitude to see how it gels.”

Baron recently picked up his 400th career coaching victory, doing so at four less-fancied schools — St. Francis (Pa.), St. Bonaventure, Rhode Island and Canisius.

He got a boost when his son, Billy, followed him to Buffalo from Rhode Island and was granted a waiver to play immediately.

Billy leads the team in scoring, averaging 16.4 points per game.

“You have to focus on him,” said Rider coach Kevin Baggett, before adding he’s not the only player that the Griffs can hurt you with. “They have a couple guys on that team that can really shoot it. They shoot the 3 effectively. That’s a big concern for me in this game.”

The Broncs rank 10th nationally in 3-point defense with opponents shooting just 27.7 percent against them (4.9 made 3s per game).

Canisius is connecting on 39 percent of its attempts from behind the arc, averaging 9.2 makes per game.

Since joining the MAAC, Rider is 27-7 against the Griffs, including 3-1 in postseason. The Broncs have also had their way at Alumni Gym, winning 14 of 15 meetings here. Canisius’ lone win was during the 2010-11 season.

Baggett is still weary of the visitors from upstate New York.

“This is a different Canisius team. This is a really talented team,” Baggett said. “This is a complete team. I know they are better at home, but this is still a dangerous team. They’re similar to Iona, maybe not as many weapons, but we have our work cut out for us.”

Rider is in a three-way tie for second place with Iona and Loyola at 6-2, one game behind Niagara. Canisius is in fifth at 5-3.

“I would have signed on for that anytime,” Baggett said. “We went from five straight losses to five wins in a row. You have to take the highs with the lows, but you have to stay out of losing streaks.”

With a victory, the Broncs can extend their winning streak to six, a number they last hit in 2010-11 when they beat the Griffs in the quarterfinals of the MAAC tournament.

Projected starting lineups: Rider: G-Jon Thompson (Sr. 11.2 ppg), G-Anthony Myles (Jr. 12.5 ppg), G-Tommy Pereira (Jr. 4.6 ppg), F-Danny Stewart (Jr. 11.3 ppg), C-Dera Nd-Ezuma (Sr. 2.3 ppg).
Canisius: G-Harold Washington (Sr. 13.3 ppg), G-Billy Baron (Jr. 16.4 ppg), G-Isaac Sosa (Sr. 12.7 ppg), F-Chris Manhertz (Jr. 6.9 ppg), C-Jordan Heath (Jr. 9.6 ppg).


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