Morning Run — Game 16: Rider 72, Siena 53
Quick Reaction: Rider needed to snap its five-game losing skid, and did so in relatively easy fashion, blowing away Siena by 19. Having the Saints — now losers of 11 straight — in town certainly helped, but the Broncs played well Sunday. They shot 53.4 percent and 50 percent (9 of 18) from beyond the arc. In the second half, Rider cranked up its pressure and pulled away. The Broncs improved to 7-9 overall and 2-2 in the league. Siena fell to 2-13 (0-4). The Saints are the only winless team in the MAAC.
Junior's solid day: Coach Kevin Baggett and Junior Fortunat met the day before the Broncs' win over Siena.
What was said?
"I told Junior, 'We're still in your corner. You have to have confidence and be ready to go,'" Baggett said.
Fortunat turned in his best performance to date, scoring 13 points and grabbing five rebounds.
"He's always ready to go," Baggett said. "If he continues to work, his time will come. He does that and I'm happy the results paid off for him today."
Baggett said prior to the season he thought Fortunat needed to average a double-double. That, even according to Baggett, was probably unrealistic for a guy that hasn't had a lot of basketball playing expereince.
Fortunat spent a couple years at Roman Catholic in Philadelphia, but he's originally from Montreal, where basketball isn't exactly in their blood. Baggett is also a coach that specialized in teaching the big men — remember he was the one that molded Jason Thompson — so he has a tendency to be harder on Fortunat than other players.
At 6-foot-9, Rider needs him to provide an interior presence on a consistent basis. That means more performances like Sunday's.
"We still believe in him," Baggett said.
Lindsey's D: Much has been made about Nurideen Lindsey's offensive struggles, but through all of that, his defense has been underrated.
He had five steals Sunday, giving him 25 for the season (Jon Thompson leads the team with 28). Not only is he adept at jumping in the passing lane, he also does a decent enough job keeping his man in front of him.
If he can continue to get steals and easy run-outs the way he did against Siena, his offensive numbers will get a boost, too. Lindsey had 12 points on 6 of 10 shooting. The reason why he shot 60 percent — all six were layups generated by a good defense.
Backcourt woes: If Siena is going to get anything from this season, the guards have to play better. Evan Hymes and Rakeem Brookins combined for 11 points on 3 of 19 shooting and eight turnovers.
That's never going to get it done. Especially if O.D. Anosike is getting doubled every time he touches the ball. Rob Poole did his part Sunday, scoring a career-high 22 points, but those two players are going to have to make open shots as well — Hymes was 1 of 7 from beyond the arc and Brookins 0 of 2.
Coach Mitch Buonaguro is having a hard time figuring out why the duo has been slumping. "The shooting is obviously an issue," he said. "Is it fatigue? I don't know."
The Jaspers were a trendy pick after Steve Masiello's strong debut season in charge, but they've struggled mightily. They're 4-10 overall, 2-2 MAAC. It doesn't help that leading scorer George Beamon is sidelined with an ankle injury. He's played just four games and hasn't been involved since Dec. 2. Michael Alvarado, the starting point guard, also missed the game.
Rider is at Manhattan Thursday.
Loyola 74, St. Peter's 58: Greyounds (11-5, 3-1) got 24 points and seven rebounds from Erik Etherly. Peacocks fell to 6-8 overall, 1-3 MAAC.