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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

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Rider celebrates Midnight MAACness in front of rocking crowd

LAWRENCEVILLE — Alumni Gymnasium was rocking late Friday night with Rider University hosting its annual Midnight MAACness to help welcome in the start of the 2013-14 men's and women's basketball seasons.

Using a Hunger Games theme, the show featured a dunk contenst, 3-point shootout and performances by the cheerleaders, dance team and women's team.

"This is my eighth Rider Midnight MAACness and it gets better every year," said men's coach Kevin Baggett. "I know our guys get up for it and are excited for it. It's great to see a turnout of Rider students."

With a loud gym cheering him on, senior forward Danny Stewart won the dunk contest with a pair of impressive jams.

Stewart, who beat freshman Khalil Thomas and Jimmie Taylor and junior transfer Matt Lopez, said there wasn't much preparation involved.

"We started yesterday, just playing around," said the Preseason Second Team All-MAAC selection. "They told me to get in it. I wasn't going to do it at first, but they were all like, 'just do it.'"

While Stewart may have just been wining it, the women's team certainly rehearsed its dance number on more than one occasion.

It ended with their version of the popular Harlem Shake internet videos.

"This is something they really wanted to do. This was their idea," said women's coach Lynn Milligan. "They did spend a lot of time on it. They wanted to put on a good show and have some fun and let everybody see who they really are and not just basketball players. See who they really are."

The men are coming off a 19-15 season, including a 12-6 mark in the MAAC, which was good for second place. The season-opener is Nov. 12 at Lehigh with the home curtain raiser scheduled for Nov. 26 against Albany.

The women compiled a 15-15 mark with a 10-8 league record. They open Nov. 8 at Lafayette and make their home debut Nov. 14 against LIU-Brooklyn.

But for one night, it was chance to put on a show for the student body.

A sold-out house certainly obliged.

"We all love it," said senior Tommy Pereira. "We love the fans coming out here to support us because at the end of the day these are what matter. We play for these. As long as we perform on the night. They are out here full voice. Plus, it's our last year, so we want to go out with a bang."


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