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The Trentonian's Full-Court Press blog is back and improved. We'll keep you updated on everything you need to know about Rider and Princeton hoops as well as the college basketball landscape.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Morning Run — Game 17: Rider 69, Manhattan 60

Quick reaction: Style points rarely come with road wins, so Rider will take this one and move on. The Broncs (8-9, 3-2) were in control most of the night until Manhattan (4-11, 2-3), playing without its top two scorers, closed the deficit to one late in the second half. Rider took the punch, and countered beautifully, thanks to Danny Stewart. The junior forward had 22 points and a career-high 16 rebounds, but no play was bigger than his and-1 that pushed the Broncs' lead back to four. Stewart out-hutsled two Jaspers to the rebound then still got his shot in off the glass despite it getting partially blocked. "He's more often consistent than not consistent," coach Kevin Baggett said. "Our guys are starting to understand that, and they trust him. We're asking Danny to do a lot, and he's responding."



Swallow the whistle: Manhattan coach Steve Masiello was pretty upset with officiating, even asking  reporters what they thought about it in his postgame. The game featured 51 fouls (30 by Manhattan, 21 by Rider) and every Jasper that played except Mohamed Koita had at least three. For Rider, Nurideen Lindsey fouled out, while Stewart and Junior Fortunat both finished with four.

The Jaspers had 15 in each half, but the ones in the first 20 minutes crippled Masiello's rotation, which was already missing George Beamon and Michael Alvarado.

The Broncs shot 36 free throws to Manhattan's 19.

"Honestly, I don't have an answer," Masiello said. "I find it amazing. We don't press this game, we're playing zone, not playing man, and you have 15 fouls. Go back and watch the film. I'm not going to blame the referees. I'm not going to blame anyone but us, but I find it very interesting when four of your players — you know, three have three and one has four. As a coach, I know with my team I adjust when I see things. I guess referees, they stick to what they know."

Here's Baggett's take on the officiating.

"That's something we just have to play through," he said. "I don't want the guys looking over at the refs. I didn't really have much to say either. They were calling them both ways. It was just something that you have to adjust to the game. I trust my bench, so I had to go to the bench for Zedric and Shawn Valentine. Those guys gave me some good minutes again. That's just the nature of the beast, and you have to play through those things."

Double down: The last time Rider had two players with a double-double in the same game was Jan. 27, 2011 in a 61-59 win at Iona.

That night, Stewart, only a freshman, had 13 points and 11 rebounds and Novar Gadson finished with 15 and 10.

Anthony Myles scored 13 points and also grabbed a career-high 14 boards against Manhattan. Only Stewart (18 points, 13 rebounds vs. Monmouth) had a double-double prior to Thursday's game.

"We're playing better as a team," Stewart said. "After the five game losing streak, we're trying to get on a winning streak. This is just a start."

Help wanted: Baggett continues to show faith in freshmen Zedric Sadler and Shawn Valentine.

Both have earned it.

Sadler hit some clutch shots — two 3-pointers to help the Broncs maintain their lead — Thursday, finishing with nine points in 28 minutes. Valentine had six points and six boards in 23 minutes.

"Zed is a gamer," Baggett said. "I trust him when I put him in the game. When he shoots it during the game, I trust that something good is going to happen. I trust this kid so much as a freshman. I'm proud of him. He's a leader as a freshman."

Health check: Starting center Dera Nd-Ezuma was limited to four minutes because of a sore back, Baggett said.

Up next: Rider hosts Loyola Sunday afternoon in a 2 p.m. tip. The Greyhounds won the previous meeting in Baltimore, 71-65, on Jan. 4.

AROUND THE MAAC
Iona 86, Marist 82: Gaels trailed by 11 on the road in second half, until they snapped to life. Lamont Jones continues to be the frontrunner for Player of the Year, scoring 26 points on 10 of 17 shooting. Iona improved to 10-6 overall and 4-1 in the league, while Marist fell to 4-12, 1-4.

Tonight: Fairfield (10-6, 2-2) at Loyola (11-5, 3-1); Canisius (10-5, 3-1) at Siena (2-13, 0-4); Niagara (7-8, 3-1) at St. Peter's (6-8, 1-3). All three games tip off at 7 p.m.

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