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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 (https://twitter.com/kj_franko) or email kfranko@trentonian.com.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

RIDER RUNBACK: Game 1 — Lehigh 92, Rider 78

BETHLEHEM, Pa. — Three talking points from Rider's season-opening loss at Lehigh.

1. Four Words: "We were awful defensively." Those were the first words to come out of coach Kevin Baggett's mouth after the Broncs (0-1) allowed 92 points, the most since Baggett took charge and highest total against since Marist scored 95 in 2011.

From watching Tuesday night, it was hard to believe that this was a Rider team that ranked in the top-10 nationally in 3-point defense deep into the season a year ago when it allowed just 5.2 3s per game and limited opponents to 28.8 percent from behind the arc.

The Mountain Hawks (1-1) carved up the Broncs' pressure for 14 3-pointers.  Lehigh had the advantage of going against Minnesota's full-court pressure in its opener and that certainly helped, but as coach Brett Reed also pointed out, it helps when you simply make shots.

The good news — if you want to take some away — is that Rider shouldn't be judged on this opener. Remember last season, the Broncs blitzed Robert Morris in Alumni Gym, but the Colonials turned out just fine, winning the Northeast Conference regular-season title.

"We're going to have to defend," Baggett said. "That's my motto. That's what I preach. That's what type of coach I am. We have to be able to give ourselves a chance to be able to win games because I don't think I have enough offensive guys to put up tons of points."

2. Zedric Sadler need to get healthy: The sophomore point guard was penciled in as the starter and natural replacement for Jon Thompson's, but a knee injury sidelined him for the opener.

Sadler had a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) procedure on his left knee to help treat tendinitis and Baggett ruled him out for the first couple weeks of the season. He worked out with trainer Jacqueline Henry before the game Tuesday night, doing some agility tests and stretching.

The Detroit native not only brings a toughness to this team, he will also improve the defense. Sadler will likely guard the other team's best player night in and night out.

Working to Sadler's advantage is an awkward schedule for the Broncs which has them playing just three games in 12 days. That gives him some time to get back without missing too many games.

3. Tweet, Tweet: Rule changes and the way games are officiated is a big talking point early in the season as teams rack up fouls as both players and referees adjust to the way game's will be called.

Rider took better advantage of the fortuitous whistles, getting to the free-throw line 28 times in the second half (29 of 35 for the game). Danny Stewart also went 10 of 10 from the stripe.

The Broncs, though, were on the wrong side of a questionable call with 14 minutes left in the game. Jimmie Taylor tipped in a missed shot and the referee whistled for a foul against a Lehigh player for pushing Shawn Valentine, who was also going for the rebound.

The ruling on the floor was a good basket and free throw for Valentine, but after going to the replay, the officials determined that the Lehigh foul occurred before Taylor tipped the ball in.

At the time, the basket would have made the score 55-43 and had the Broncs at the line with a chance to get within 11. Instead, Valentine missed the front end of a one and one (the Mountain Hawks were in the penalty).

"I have no idea," Baggett said. "You would have to ask them. They told me the foul was called before the ball got tapped in the basket, therefore it was a one and one. Those are calls that they make. I don't know the rule on that. They went back and watched the film."

Up Next: at Purdue, Nov. 17. The Boilermakers squeaked by Northern Kentucky, 77-76, in their opener and face Central Connecticut State on Nov. 13 before playing the Broncs.




1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has Kenny Grant signed with Rider yet as well?

November 14, 2013 at 7:49 PM 

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