Blogs > The Full-Court Press

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

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Season in Review: Rider

Coach Kevin Baggett won 19 games in his debut season/ Photo by JOHN BLAINE

Season in Review

Final record: 19-15, 12-6 MAAC; second place. Lost in second round of CIT

Grading out the Broncs

Kevin Baggett, B+ — A solid debut season for the coach who spent 14 years as an assistant before getting his chance when Tommy Dempsey left for Binghamton. Baggett won 19 games, tying him with Clair Bee for second most victories in program history by a first-year coach. Only Robert Greenwood won more (20 in 1962-63). Baggett said from the beginning his team would defend and it certainly did that, allowing 63.3 point per game, which was down from 74.6 a year ago (that’s an 11.3 ppg difference and a big reason why Rider improved its win total by six games). A five-game win streak to finish the regular-season vaulted Rider to the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament with only a final-day victory by Niagara over St. Peter’s keeping Baggett from piloting the Broncs to a first-place finish.
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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Rider making best of CIT opportunity

Anthony Myles matched a career high with 23 points against Hartford/ Photo by JOHN BLAINE

LAWRENCEVILLE — While it’s not the postseason tournament Rider had its eye on, coach Kevin Baggett and the Broncs are happy to still be playing.

Rider (19-14) advanced to the second round of the tournament with a victory over Hartford Tuesday — the program’s first postseason win since 1957 — and visits East Carolina Saturday night with a spot in the quarterfinals on the line.

The Pirates, out of Conference USA, are 19-12 and rallied to defeat Savannah State by one in the first round.

“Obviously, everyone is a little down on the fact that we didn’t get into the NCAA tournament,” said Baggett following Thursday afternoon’s practice. “We are in the postseason and we are embracing it."
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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Rider wins CIT opener over Hartford

Anthony Myles netted 23 points and Rider won a postseason game for the first time since 1957, knocking off Hartford, 63-54, in a first round tournament game Tuesday night.

The Broncs (19-14) will play in a second round game on Saturday, against an opponent yet to be

“It’s not the NCAA tournament, which is where I hope to get this program,” coach Kevin Baggett said on 107.7 The Bronc. “But if we’re playing in the postseason, I’m hoping to win. ... It’s a privilege to be in a postseason tournament. We needed to come out and play with a sense of urgency and understand that we want to win and keep enjoying each other.”
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Monday, March 18, 2013

CIT Gameday: Rider (18-14) at Hartford (17-13)

Who: Rider (18-14) at Hartford (17-13)
When: Tuesday, 7 p.m., Chase Family Arena, 107.7 FM The Bronc.

Last time out: Rider lost to Fairfield in MAAC quarterfinals, 43-42; Hartford lost to UMBC in America East quarterfinals, 69-62.

Previous meeting: Hartford won 68-57 in 2004 (Hartford leads all-time series 1-0).

Background: The Broncs are making their fourth postseason appearance in the last six years, with this being their third trip to the tournament.

Rider last appeared in the CIT in 2011, dropping a first-round game at Northern Iowa.

The Hawks are one win away from matching the program record of 18 set during the 2007-08 season.

This is their first postseason invite since making the jump to Division I in 1984-85.

The CIT, now in its fifth season, features 32 mid-major schools from around the country that are bracketed geographically. First round games are Tuesday and Wednesday.
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Friday, March 15, 2013

Princeton won't accept postseason bid


Despite finishing second in the Ivy League, Princeton (17-11, 10-4) will not be playing in either the CBI or CIT tournaments.

A source close to the Princeton program told the Trentonian Friday that the Tigers won’t be participating in any postseason tournament, though declined further comment.

After Tuesday’s season-ending win over Penn at the Palestra, coach Mitch Henderson seemed lukewarm on the possibility of playing in a third-tier competition.
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Rider to face Hartford in CIT opener

Rider will travel to Hartford Tuesday night for the opening round of the Tournament.

The Hawks, out of the America East, went 17-13, matching the program record for wins.

Hartford is led by first team all-conference guard Mark Nwakamma, who averaged 14.6 points per game. Like the Broncs, the Hawks, who were seeded third, were ousted in the quarterfinal round of their conference tournament, getting upset by sixth-seeded UMBC.

This is Hartford’s first postseason appearance since moving to Division I for the 1984-85 season.
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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Hummer wins Ivy POY, Bray, Koon also honored

In a widely expected move, the Ivy League named Princeton forward Ian Hummer as its Player of the Year Wednesday following a vote of the league’s coaches.

Hummer leads Princeton in points (16.3), rebounds (6.4), assists  (4.1) and blocks (0.8), leading the Tigers (17-11, 10-4) to double-digit Ivy League wins for the fourth consecutive season.

“As the coach and an alum, I can just say how proud I am of him,” said coach Mitch Henderson in a video posted on Princeton’s athletics website. “Knowing how proud he is of his teammates putting him in a position where he can be successful, and how much he enjoys celebrating these types of awards and recognitions with his teammates make me proud to be his coach. I’m so excited he’s been recognized by his peers for an award we here think he is very deserving of. Congratulations Ian.”

Hummer is the first Princeton player to receive the award since current assistant Brian Earl in 1999. His 1,625 points are good for second all-time in program history behind Bill Bradley, and his 725 rebounds rank fifth in the Tigers record books. A two-time All-Ivy first team selection, he was named the league’s Player of the Week a record nine times.

Though the Tigers didn’t realize their goal of an Ivy title this season, Hummer considers his time in Princeton well spent.

“I’ve had a great four years, with great teammates and great coaches,” Hummer said after beating Penn in Philadelphia Tuesday night. “I’ve had so many memorable moments that it is a success in my book.”

Two other Princeton players were also honored. Junior guard T.J. Bray was named to the All-Ivy second team, while sophomore Denton Koon was an Honorable Mention selection.

Harvard’s Siyani Chambers was selected as the league’s Rookie of the Year. Brown’s Cedric Kuakamensah was honored as its Defensive Player of the Year.

Here is the full list of honorees:

2013 All-Ivy League Teams
Ian Hummer, Princeton (Sr., F - Vienna, Va.)
*Siyani Chambers, Harvard (Fr., G - Golden Valley, Minn.)
Cedric Kuakamensah, Brown (Fr., F - Worcester, Mass.)
Sean McGonagill, Brown (Jr., G - Brookfield, Ill.)
Shonn Miller, Cornell (So., F - Euclid, Ohio)
Siyani Chambers, Harvard (Fr., G - Golden Valley, Minn.)
*Wesley Saunders, Harvard (So., G/F - Los Angeles)
*Ian Hummer, Princeton (Sr., F - Vienna, Va.)
Matthew Sullivan, Brown (Sr., G - Wilmette, Ill.)
Brian Barbour, Columbia (Sr., G - Alamo, Calif.)
Gabas Maldunas, Dartmouth (So., F - Panevezys, Lithuania)
Miles Cartwright, Penn (Jr., G - Van Nuys, Calif.)
T.J. Bray, Princeton (Jr., G - New Berlin, Wis.)
Austin Morgan, Yale (Sr., G - Reno, Nev.)
Errick Peck, Cornell (Sr., F - Indianapolis)
Steve Moundou-Missi, Harvard (So., F - Yaounde, Cameroon)
Laurent Rivard, Harvard (Jr., G - Saint-Bruno, Quebec, Canada)
Tony Hicks, Penn (Fr., G - South Holland, Ill.)
Denton Koon, Princeton (So., G - Liberty, Mo.)
* Unanimous Selection
^ Due to ties in the voting, the second team expanded to six

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Rider accepts CIT bid

Rider has accepted an invitation to play in the postseason tournament.

The Broncs finished the season 18-14 and 12-6 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, grabbing the No. 2 seed, but crashed out of the conference tournament in disappointing fashion, scoring 42 points — a program low in the MAAC tournament — in a quarterfinal loss to Fairfield.

Rider's CIT opponent is yet to be determined and the game will be played on the road either Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday.

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Saturday, March 9, 2013

MAAC Tournament Quarterfinals

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Joe Mihalich sat down at his postgame press conference and quoted Hall of Fame coach John Chaney.

"As John Chaney would say, 'you win one, you buy one,'" said Mihalich after his top-seeded Niagara squad survived a tough challenge from ninth-seeded Siena Saturday afternoon. "You live to play another day. The difference between 1 and 8 in this league is so marginal. I don't think it was our best game, but we made plays to win."

Antoine Mason scored 21 points, Juan'ya Green added 15, including a back-breaking 3-pointer with 2:07 left and the Purple Eagles were good enough to reach the semifinals of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament with a 74-62 victory.

"We won," said a relived Mason. "That's a good start. We have to be sharper tomorrow."

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Friday, March 8, 2013

Fairfield tops St. Peter's, will face Rider in quarters

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Derek Needham scored 24 points, helping Fairfield slug its way past St. Peter's, 54-47, and into the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference quarterfinals Saturday where it will meet Rider for the second straight season.

The seventh-seeded Stags (18-14) trailed 44-37 with 11:39 to go, but held the 10th-seeded Peacocks (9-21) to one point over the final 5:46.

"I don't want to go home yet," Needham said. "That was my whole thing talking to Colin (Nickerson) at the hotel. We didn't want to go home tonight."

Fairfield beat Rider, 65-63, in the quarterfinals last season.

The Stags swept the season series this year.

Coach Sydney Johnson was as diplomatic as possible when asked how he thinks his team matches up with the second-seeded Broncs (18-13).

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Rider women's season comes to end against Niagara

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — On a Friday afternoon in which the shooting for the Rider women matched the weather outside and a 17-point deficit glared at them midway through the second half, it was a feat in and of itself that they were ultimately in a one-possession game with 14 seconds left.

But a jumbled final possession resulted in Sironda Chambers having her 3-point attempt to force overtime blocked and the Broncs were bounced out of Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament, 59-54, by Niagara in the quarterfinals here at the MassMutual Center.

“We didn’t put our best foot forward today,” said a disappointed coach Lynn Milligan, whose squad was the fourth seed and in the quarterfinals for the first time since 2004-05.

Following the Purple Eagles’ 20th and final turnover, Rider had the ball with 14.6 seconds left down 57-54, but when it couldn’t get a clean look, Milligan called timeout with 6.4 ticks remaining.

Chambers received the ball in the right corner and tried to force up a 3 that never had a chance. Niagara grabbed the rebound, got the ball to its best foul shooter, Meghan McGuiness, and she knocked down both free throws.

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Thursday, March 7, 2013

MAAC tourney wide open

Juan'ya Green is a standout guard for Niagara/ Photo by JOHN  BLAINE

When Niagara coach Joe Mihalich tells you the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference is wide open, he means it.

And he’s not just talking in coach speak.

“Every coach in America is going to say it’s wide open and anybody can win it. If anybody really means it, it’s the 10 coaches in this league,” said Mihalich, whose Purple Eagles are the top seed and await the winner of the play-in game between eighth-seeded Marist and ninth-seeded Siena.

Niagara went 18-12 this season and 13-5 in the league, claiming the regular-season title outright.
Rider and Loyola finished one game behind with Canisius and Iona coming in two back.

“The charm of our team is that we can lose to anybody,” Mihalich said.

Really, anybody in the top eight has a chance to get to the final. It’s what makes this tournament so compelling.

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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

McKenzie, Rider women ready for MAAC tourney

MyNeshia McKenzie and Rider face Niagara Friday/ Photo by JOHN BLAINE

LAWRENCEVILLE — MyNeshia McKenzie prefers her donuts for breakfast and not in the boxscore.

When the Rider women faced Niagara at Alumni Gymnasium on Feb. 2, the junior forward did something she can’t ever remember doing. She failed to score.

“I had a donut,” McKenzie recalled with a laugh Wednesday as the fourth-seeded Broncs prepared for their Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference quarterfinal against those same Purple Eagles Friday afternoon (3:30 p.m., MassMutual Center, Springfield, Mass.).

In that game, McKenzie produced one of the oddest statistical lines you’ll ever see: 0 points, 14 rebounds on 0 of 9 shooting and 0 of 4 from the foul line.

“It was a new feeling,” said McKenzie, who finished the regular season averaging 13.9 points and 9.7 rebounds per game. “They definitely didn’t see what I’m capable of. From that game, I’ve grown as a person and as a player. It kind of opened my eyes a little bit more.”

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Monday, March 4, 2013

Six Rider players earn All-MAAC honors

Jon Thompson was a Second Team All-League selection/ Photo by JOHN BLAINE

Six members of the Rider men's and women's basketball teams were honored Monday when the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference announced its all-league teams.

Jon Thompson was a Second Team selection and Anthony Myles and Danny Stewart were both named to the Third Team.

Thompson leads the Broncs in scoring, assists, steals and minutes played. He's averaging a career-best 12.8 points per game and 14.3 per contest in MAAC games. The senior guard also ranks first in the conference in 3-point field goal percentage (51.6) and third in total field goal percentage (56.8).

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Saturday, March 2, 2013

POSTGAME REACTION: Princeton 68, Dartmouth 63

Rider rallies past Canisius, locks up No. 2 seed

Kevin Baggett told his team that this weekend was a business trip.

He needed it to understand it was in western New York to win two games and take control of its own destiny heading into the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament.

Rider rallied from an 11-point deficit Saturday afternoon to beat Canisius, 65-61, at the Koessler Athletic Center and secure the No. 2 seed in next week’s conference tournament.

The Broncs (18-13, 12-6) put themselves in position to claim the regular-season crown with a victory over Niagara Thursday night, but were forced to settle for second when the Purple Eagles (18-12, 13-5) knocked off St. Peter’s to win the title outright.

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Game 31: Rider (17-13, 11-6) at Canisius (18-11, 11-6)

Who: Rider (17-13, 11-6) at Canisius (18-11, 11-6).

When: Saturday, 2 p.m., Koessler Athletic Center, 107.7 FM The Bronc. 

Last time out: Rider def. Niagara, 68-59; Canisius def. St. Peter's, 77-65 (OT).

Previous meeting: Canisius won 67-50.

Background: The winner of this game can grab a share of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference title with some help elsewhere.

If Niagara loses to St. Peter's, the Rider/Canisius winner will be crowned the regular-season champion on a tiebreaker, earning the No. 1 seed in the league tournament and a berth in the NIT should it fail to win the tourney in Springfield.

Both Rider and Canisius hold the tiebreaker over Loyola, which could also finish 12-6 with a victory over Manhattan Sunday.

The Purple Eagles still control their own destiny and win the title outright by beating the Peacocks.

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Tigers ride Hummer with season on line

Ian Hummer moved into second place on Princeton's all-time scoring list/ Photo by JOHN BLAINE

PRINCETON — On his way off the floor, Ian Hummer stopped for hugs and high-fives.

He certainly earned them Friday night.

Hummer delivered one of his best performances, scoring 23 points and grabbing 14 rebounds as Princeton saved its season with a 58-53 victory over Harvard.

In the process, he passed Douglas Davis for second on the school’s all-time scoring list, trailing only the legendary Bill Bradley, who compiled 2,503 points from 1962-65.

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Princeton picks up crucial Ivy win over Harvard

Denton Koon scores two for Princeton/ Photo by JOHN BLAINE

PRINCETON — With 7.6 seconds on the clock and the ball at the bottom of a scrum underneath the Harvard basket — Tigers up by a single fragile point — Ian Hummer suddenly charged toward the student section, fists pumping.

It took the packed house at Jadwin Gym a second to realize what had just happened — the ball was out of bounds on Harvard, and free throws willing, Princeton had just won its biggest game of the season.

“I knew it was going to go our way, the way we’ve been shooting our free throws,” Hummer said after the game. “Whoever was on the line was going to make them. The excitement got the best of me, nobody had any idea what I was doing.”

The Tigers were able to hold on, beating the Crimson 58-53 for the 24th straight time at Jadwin Gym Friday night. With the victory, Princeton pulls even with Harvard in the all-important Ivy League loss column. If the two teams each win out, it would set up a one-game playoff to determine the league champion and the recipient of its NCAA bid.

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Friday, March 1, 2013

VIDEO: Nick Peruffo takes a look at Princeton vs. Harvard