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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.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Game 27: St. Peter's (8-16, 3-11) at Rider (13-13, 8-6)

 
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 Who: St. Peter’s (8-16, 3-11) at Rider (13-13, 8-6).

When: Thursday, 7 p.m., Alumni Gymnasium, 107.7 FM The Bronc.

Last time out: Rider lost to Iona, 78-71; St. Peter’s def. Siena, 72-62.

Previous meeting: Rider won 66-54.

Background: Anyway you slice it, this Metro Atlantic Athletic conference race is wide open.

When play begins Thursday, five teams will be separated by two games with four to play in the league.


“I thought this was a good league and not one time this year did I think it wouldn’t be this way,” said coach Kevin Baggett, whose team is two games behind leaders Niagara with four to play in the league. “Knowing all the good players, all the good coaches, I’m not surprised.”

The Broncs begin their final MAAC homestand Thursday against the Peacocks, who are a winless 0-6 away from home in conference games, before finishing up Sunday with Marist.

The conference season concludes with the upstate New York trip.

“We’re two game from being seventh and two games from being first,” said senior guard Jon Thompson, who is coming off a career-high 26 points in the loss to Iona and is averaging 19 per game over the last five. “We have to get these two games here because it’s going to be a rough Buffalo trip. First, we have to take care of business here.”

Over its last three contests, Rider is forcing opponents into nine turnovers per game — five below its season average.

To some extent, that’s a result of Baggett backing off the press.

“It’s a little bit of the end of the season, tired legs, tired minds,” said Baggett, adding some of his freshmen have hit the proverbial wall.

But the coach wants to up the tempo again.

“We’ve played some really good teams that shoot the ball well,” Baggett said. “I didn’t want to leave as many open guys so that’s really where we didn’t press as much as we have early on. I want to get back to it. Especially at home where we can force the tempo and try to get some easy baskets.”

Projected starting lineups: Rider: G-Jon Thompson (Sr. 12.3 ppg), G-Anthony Myles (Jr. 12.5 ppg), G-Nurideen Lindsey (Jr. 8.6 ppg), F-Danny Stewart (Jr. 11.2 ppg), C-Dera Nd-Ezuma (Sr. 2.7 ppg).
St. Peter’s: G-Yvon Raymond (Sr. 10.3 ppg), G-Desi Washington (So. 14.5 ppg), G-Chris Burke (Jr. 5.3 ppg), G-Blaise Ffrench (Sr. 7.9 ppg), F-Darius Conley (Sr. 8.2 ppg).

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