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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

Sunday, December 15, 2013

RIDER RUNBACK: Game 9 — Rider 79, Wagner 58

LAWRENCEVILLE — Three observations following Rider's 79-58 victory over Wagner Saturday afternoon at Alumni Gymnasium that ran the Broncs' winning streak to three.

1. Ready! Set! Go!: Life is so much easier when you get off to a good start. Rider can certainly attest to this after racing out to a 16-point lead over the Seahawks in the first six minutes. The Broncs (5-4) made seven of their first eight shots and their first four 3-pointers. Getting off to a quick start gives you margin for error later on. Even though Rider turned it over 26 times, because of the strong start Wagner (5-6) never got closer than nine in the second half.

"We got some momentum. Guys made shots and that got us off to a good start," coach Kevin Baggett said. "We defended well, which I'm happy about. I just keep going back to the 26 turnovers that stand out to me the most. That's the most disappointing part. But we did a good job finishing it out."

Credit he Broncs for closing this one out. They held the Seahawks to 32.8 percent shooting and forced 17 turnovers themselves.

"When you shoot 32 percent and you turn the ball over 17 times, it sort of negates it," Wagner coach Bashir Mason said. "We turned them over and really weren't able to capitalize."

2. Rider can score: If you thought Rider would be averaging over 80 points per game through the first nine games claim your prize. Nobody? This team is putting the ball in the basket better than anyone thought it would. Baggett didn't think his team would win many 85-82 games this season, but that might just be the strength of this group. The Broncs have four players — Anthony Myles, Danny Stewart, Jimmie Taylor and Zedric Sadler — that can fill it up on any given night.

Remember, when Baggett got the job prior to last season, he wasn't hired until late May and his first priority was to change the defensive culture. He did that successfully, but at the expense of the offense. Entering Year 2 with an established expectation on defense (Baggett will tell you this group's defense has a lot to work on considering its allowing 79 ppg) he was able to find more continuity on offense. Those four players are all averaging over 10 points per game.

“We got guys that can score,” Baggett said. “I knew we had depth and a more balanced attack. It’s a matter of our freshmen and how soon they would come around. Jimmie, obviously, is doing a good job, and we have to get Kahlil Thomas a little more consistent. That to me was the biggest thing, how soon we could get our freshmen going. Our veterans, I knew what they bring.”

3. Playing with pain: Sadler is so important to any success Rider is going to have so his health is a primary concern for Baggett. The sophomore from Detroit missed the preseason following a platelet-rich plasma injection to alleviate pain associated with patella tendinitis. He sat out the season opener (originally it was thought he would miss the first three games) before returning to the lineup. 

After Saturday's victory — one in which he scored 20 points and grabbed eight rebounds — he said he's still only 70 percent. Sadler gets stretched out and applies heat to his left knee when he comes out of games. He added that the time off between games — the Broncs don't play again until next Saturday at No. 10 Villanova — helps him.

"I'm just playing through it," Sadler said. 


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