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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

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Game 30: Rider (16-13) at Niagara (17-11, 12-4)

LAWRENCEVILLE — The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference race will come down to the final weekend.

Seven teams are jostling for position as Rider heads north for the difficult Buffalo trip to conclude the regular season.

“At the end of the day, you want it to come down to the end of the year because you have a chance to be at the top of your league,” said coach Kevin Baggett. “I’m happy about that. It’s a tough two games to finish up with. I have to believe it’s the toughest in the league.”

Niagara, Thursday night’s opponent, is in first place at 17-11 overall and 12-4 in the league. Canisius (17-11, 10-6) and Rider (16-13, 10-6) are tied for third, while Iona and Fairfield are both 9-7 and Manhattan is 8-8.

The Purple Eagles are 10-3 at home and the Golden Griffins are 10-2. Baggett knows this will be anything but easy.

“We talk about winning the league,” Baggett said. “I’m looking up and not back. If we go up and win both, we don’t have to worry about where we fall. We’ll know where we fall.”

The Broncs won the first meeting with Niagara, 72-69, but Antoine Mason, the Purple Eagles’ leading scorer, did not play in that game because of a sprained ankle.

Mason missed four games, but returned for Niagara’s victory over Northwestern State in the BracketBusters.

The Purple Eagles scored 61 points in the second half, shooting 66.7 percent and connection on 8 of 10 from behind the arc.

Mason averages 18.9 points per game and Juan’ya Green, who had an off night in the first meeting, throwing up a 1 for 16, averages 16.8 points.

“We prepared for him the last time and he ended up not playing,” Baggett said. “We’ll prepare for him now. I know he’s a good player. He came back and didn’t miss a beat. He’s another guy that we have to be able to surround and defend. It’s another weapon for them.”

Niagara can clinch a share of the regular-season title with a victory.

Rider may not have freshman guard Zedric Sadler, who missed Saturday’s win over Charleston Southern for a violation of team rules. Baggett said before Tuesday’s practice that he hadn’t made a decision on the young guard, who is fourth on the team in minutes during conference play.

The team travelled on Wednesday.

Thursday’s tip off is scheduled for 7 p.m.


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