NEWARK, Del. — Following Rider’s 73-66 loss to Delaware, Nurideen
Lindsey spoke about the season being a marathon rather than a sprint.
That may be, but with the MAAC schedule on tap, the Broncs are falling
Rider lost its fourth straight Monday afternoon at the Bob Carpenter Center, dropping to 6-8 overall.
Both Lindsey and coach Kevin Baggett insist frustration isn’t
seeping in yet, but the Broncs haven’t won since Dec. 7 and don’t look
like a team that can close out a victory right now.
“We have to learn how to finish games. That’s the biggest thing,”
said Lindsey, who scored 13 points, snapping a stretch of three straight
in which he failed to reach double-figures.
“Everybody can see we got the fight to be able to compete and stay in
games. We have to learn how to finish games. We don’t make a lot of
winning plays in games when we battle back.”
Said Baggett: “It’s the things we aren’t doing to help us win
games. Those are the things that are frustrating. I’m not frustrated
with our team, because I know those guys are trying and giving me all
Case in point: After battling back from down 11 in the second half to
take a 61-60 lead on Shawn Valentine’s 3-pointer with 6:10 remaining,
the Broncs, already in the penalty, committed a foul on the perimeter.
Devon Saddler made both free throws, putting the Blue Hens back on top.
Rider never led again.
Down 69-66 as the clock ticked under a
minute, Saddler, Delaware’s leading scorer, connected on a tough jumper
with 45.8 seconds to go.
Saddler came in averaging 19.8 points per game but was kept quiet most of the afternoon. He finished with 12.
The Blue Hens (5-8) did their work on the offensive glass. They
grabbed 24 offensive rebounds, leading to 20 second-chance points. For
the game, they out-boarded the Broncs 52-31.
Jamelle Hagins, who trailed only Siena’s O.D. Anosike in rebounding
nationally, grabbed 16 (seven offensive) to go with his 14 points. Josh
Brinkley led Delaware with 17 points and eight rebounds.
Rider forwards Dera Nd-Ezuma and Junior Fortunat combined for seven rebounds.
In crunch time, Baggett had four guards and Danny Stewart on the floor.
“Those guys aren’t rebounding and that’s what’s hurting us,” Baggett
said. “Between them, to have seven rebounds, that’s not good enough from
my biggest guys on the court.
“No question we have to get tougher. That starts with me.”
Stewart finished with 13 points and Jon Thompson added 10. Anthony
Myles, playing in front of a large number of friends and family in his
home state, had seven before fouling out.
Rider is 1-1 in the league after splitting its first two games
earlier this month. It travels to preseason favorite Loyola Friday.
The race isn’t near over, but the Broncs have some catching up to do.
“There’s no frustration. That just happens in basketball,” Lindsey
said. “We got a bunch of guys that work hard everyday. It’s nothing to
get discouraged about. Basketball isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon.”
NOTES: Delaware now leads the all-time series 32-30. Rider had won
seven of the past eight and four in a row. … This was the return game of
the Blue Hens’ visit for BracketBusters in the 2010-11 season. …
Stewart’s free-throw miss with 14:05 left in the second half snapped his
streak of 18 in a row.