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

Friday, January 31, 2014

RIDER GAMEDAY: Saint Peter's

Who: Rider (10-9, 6-4) at Saint Peter’s (7-12, 3-7)

When: Friday, 7 p.m., Yanitelli Center


Radio: 107.7 FM The Bronc

Last Time Out: Rider def. Monmouth, 77-71 in OT; SPU lost to Iona, 71-63

Previous Meeting: SPU won, 77-69, on Jan. 16

Background: If the Broncs want to mount a charge up the conference standings this is the time to do it.

Beginning Friday at Saint Peter’s, Rider faces three of the bottom four teams in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference with Fairfield and Marist on deck at Alumni Gymnasium.
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Monday, January 27, 2014

Tommy Pereira's shooting stroke giving Broncs a boost

Tommy Pereira scored a career-high 20 points in win over Monmouth. John Blaine Photo.

LAWRENCEVILLE — When Tommy Pereira gets his 3-point stroke going, he’s a huge asset for Rider.

The senior guard scored a career-best 20 points Sunday, hitting on six of his seven attempts from behind the arc in a 77-71 overtime victory against Monmouth.

He did most of his damage during the second half, scoring 12 of his 20, including a trio of triples that helped the Broncs fight off a Hawks run after they got within four.
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Rider needs overtime to win after allowing late Monmouth 3-pointer

Danny Stewart dunks against Monmouth. Jackie Schear Photo.

LAWRENCEVILLE — Listening to Kevin Baggett in his postgame press conference, it was hard to believe Rider walked away from Alumni Gymnasium on Sunday afternoon with a victory.

While the head coach didn’t want to say his team dodged a bullet, it certainly needed an escape hatch to get out with a 77-71 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference overtime win against Monmouth after coughing up all of an 18-point lead.

“I just thought we self-imploded,” Baggett said after the Broncs let a 17-point halftime advantage slip away when Justin Robinson hit a 3-pointer with 1.8 seconds left, sending the game to overtime.

But at least Rider (10-9, 6-4) had an extra five minutes to rescue an eighth consecutive victory against its in-state rival and avoid a disheartening defeat.

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Sunday, January 26, 2014


Saturday, January 25, 2014


Who: Princeton Tigers (10-3, 0-1 Ivy) vs.  (DIII) Kean Cougars (10-6, 6-4 NJAC)
When/Where: 2 p.m. Sunday, Jadwin Gym
Coverage: WPRB 103.3 FM, Ivy League Digital Network
Coaches: Princeton – Mitch Henderson. Kean – Rob Kurzinsky.
Projected lineup:
Princeton: C Hans Brase (6-8, sophomore, 11.9 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 2.6 APG). F Will Barrett (6-10, senior, 11.6 PPG, 3.9 RPG). G Ben Hazel (6-5, junior, 10.2 PPG, 3.9 RPG). G Jimmy Sherburne (6-3, senior, 6.5 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 2 APG). G T.J. Bray (6-5, senior, 17.4 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 6.2 APG).
Kean: G Ali Mix (5-11, senior, 18.2 PPG, 4.1 APG, 3 RPG). G Michael Burton (5-7, senior, 15 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 2.7 APG). G Tommy Soulias (6-2, sophomore, 1.7 PPG, 4.6 RPG). C Xavier Fuller (6-5, senior, 10.5 PPG, 7.1 RPG). F Tim Steward (6-3, junior, 3.1 PPG, 3.6 RPG).
Good to see you again: The Princeton Tigers will finally take to the court again Sunday afternoon, hosting the Division III Kean Cougars 15 days after their tough Ivy-opening loss to Penn at the Palestra. The break, of course, was to accommodate the university’s exam period. Because they are not allowed to have official practices during that time, the Tigers often chose to play a DIII game to work off the post-exam rust.
“We sort of feel like it’s a strange situation here that’s been going on for years, where we have exams after the break for the holidays,” coach Mitch Henderson said Friday. “We just feel like it’s an opportunity to put the uniform on and get back in the swing of things, because we haven’t played in three weeks.”
Gym time: While the Tigers didn’t schedule any full practices during the exam period, many of the players made the trek down to Jadwin Gym on their own accord — both to stay sharp for when the games resumed and to relieve some of that exam-time stress.
“They have opportunities to come down, and most of the guys are really good about getting themselves down here,” Henderson said. “For some of them, they need a little break from studying all the time, so they come down here to get some shots up. We just try to make the gym available.”
Size matters: If you’ve ever wondered about the comparative quality of Division I and Division III basketball, just look at these two teams’ rosters. Kean’s tallest starter is 6-foot-5 center Xavier Fuller, who is the same height as Princeton point guard T.J. Bray.
“The size difference is obviously something big between us and Division III, but its really just a chance to get out there and work on our offense without to much pressure, and without worrying that if we lose this game we aren’t going to win the championship and this and that,” Will Barrett said Friday. “It’s a great thing for our team.”
No TCNJ?: The past three post-exams DIII games have been Mercer County matchups, with the Tigers hosting TCNJ. Henderson said getting Kean on the schedule was “just to mix things up,” though on paper at least the Cougars should present a little bit tougher of a challenge than the Lions. Kean is 10-6 overall (6-4 in the NJAC) and beat TCNJ 91-62 Saturday afternoon in Union.

RIDER GAMEDAY: Broncs look for season sweep of Monmouth

Who: Monmouth (10-10, 4-5) at Rider (9-9, 5-4)

When: Sunday, 4 p.m., Alumni Gymnasium

TV: None

Radio: 107.7 FM The Bronc

Last Time Out: Rider lost to Manhattan, 67-51; Monmouth def. Faifield, 63-60

Previous Meeting: Rider won, 89-83, on Dec. 5

Background: With a victory Sunday afternoon, the Broncs can sweep the season series and make it eight straight victories over their in-state rival.

The Hawks have been playing well lately under third-year coach King Rice. They have won two straight and are one game behind Rider for that all important fifth position in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (by finishing in a top-5 spot you don't have to play on the opening night of the conference tourney).

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Broncs show they're not ready for primetime in loss to Manhattan

RIVERDALE, N.Y. — If Rider intended to announce itself as a contender in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference race with a signature victory, than Friday night’s performance proved the Broncs aren’t quite there.

Facing preseason favorite Manhattan — a bigger and quicker side as it turned out — Rider never got out of the traps in what eventually was a 67-51 loss here at Draddy Gymnasium.

The Broncs fell to 9-9 overall and 5-4 in the league, dropping a full two games behind the leaders. Meanwhile, the Jaspers (14-4, 7-2) moved into a first-place tie with Canisius and Iona, which beat Quinnipiac Friday night.

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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Rider faces Manhattan looking for signature win in tight MAAC race

Rider coach Kevin Baggett said a victory over Manhattan would be a signature win. John Blaine Photo.

LAWRENCEVILLE — In the wacky world of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, where the top five teams are separated by a game and a half, anything is possible.

Rider (9-8, 5-3) enters play Friday night just off the pace set by league leader Canisius (13-7, 7-2), which took a half-game advantage over three other schools — Manhattan, Iona and Quinnipiac — with its victory against Niagara earlier this week.

“It just depends on what week it is,” Broncs head coach Kevin Baggett said. “A lot of upsets going on in the league. It’s a good league. Everybody is pretty balanced. There is a lot of parity in the league.”

Baggett feels like his team can catapult itself back into contention for the regular-season title if it can get a win against the Jaspers (13-4, 6-2) Friday at Draddy Gymnasium. The game tips off at 7 p.m. and can be seen on ESPNU.
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Sunday, January 19, 2014

RIDER RUNBACK: Game 17 — Broncs 66, Marist 56

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. — Three day after thoughts from Rider's 66-56 victory over Marist Saturday night that improved the Broncs to 9-8 overall and 5-3 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.

1. Let's get physical: Coming off a disappointing home loss to Saint Peter's, Kevin Baggett promised Rider "would get after it" in practice the next day. The result was the team's most physical practice of the year.

"Guys took it to heart," the coach said.

The Broncs turned in their best defensive effort of the season against Marist, holding the Red Foxes to 32 percent shooting, including 3 of 18 from behind the arc.
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Friday, January 17, 2014

Saint Peter's coach John Dunne getting the most out of his club

John Dunne's Saint Peter's has won three straight MAAC games. AP Photo.

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Trailing by 21 points at halftime to Canisius at home, John Dunne looked at his team in the locker room and asked them to grow as a group.

Dunne didn't expect Saint Peter's to come back and win the game. He just wanted his kids to play hard and compete for the last 20 minutes.

The Peacocks didn't win, but they sliced the deficit to one with three minutes remaining.

"We fell short, but I think in that moment we finally figured out what it took to win because we played with a high level energy and togetherness," Dunne said.

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

RIDER GAMEDAY: Broncs look for six in a row over Saint Peter's

Who: Saint Peter’s (6-9, 2-4) at Rider (8-7, 4-2)

When: Thursday, 7 p.m., Alumni Gymnasium

TV: None

Radio: 107.7 FM The Bronc

Last Time Out: Rider def. Niagara, 90-78; Saint Peter’s def. Quinnipiac, 74-67

All-Time Series: Rider leads 29-23

Background: The Broncs try to make it six in a row over their in-state rival, although it won’t be easy against the Peacocks, who have won two straight.

SPU is coming off an impressive victory over Quinnipiac and have a dynamic scoring duo in juniors Desi Washington (13.1 ppg) and Marvin Dominique (18.1 ppg).
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Ivy League teleconference: Brian Earl

The Ivy League had its midseason teleconference Wednesday, and due to travel conflicts, Mitch Henderson was replaced on the call by assistant Brian Earl. Here is what Earl had to say.

Opening statement:

"We've had a relatively successful start to the season at 11-3 and with a question mark of losing the (Ivy League) Player of the Year in Ian Hummer. We've sort of filled that gap by committee. It was a tough loss this previous game at The Palestra that we're going to try to build off of. We have some time to head into exams and regain our footing, and we'll be back in a couple weeks to try and get back to the winning ways. At this point, we've got a couple things we need to address, I think a little bit on the defensive side, and once we figure that out, hopefully we'll get back on track."

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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Valentine has sprained MCL, will miss at least 2 weeks

Shawn Valentine has a sprained MCL and will miss at least two week. Photo by John Blaine.

Rider coach Kevin Baggett confirmed that sophomore forward Shawn Valentine has a sprained right MCL, which he suffered in Sunday's win over Niagara, and will miss at least two weeks.

Valentine landed awkwardly during the first half and was writhing in pain. He had to be carried off the court.

"Everything ligament and muscle wise is still in place, so obviously, we're happy for that," Baggett said. "I'm sorry to have him down for a length of time, but I'm also happy he won't be out for the entire year. The way he was screaming out on the court, I just (thought) it was a torn ACL."

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Friday, January 10, 2014


Who: Princeton Tigers (11-2, 0-0) at Penn Quakers (2-10, 0-0)
When/Where: 6 p.m. Saturday, The Palestra, Philadelphia
Coverage: 103.3 WPRB, NBC Sports Network
Coaches: Princeton - Mitch Henderson (third season, 48-25). Penn – Jerome Allen (fifth season, 50-72)
Probable Starters:
Penn:  F Fran Dougherty (6-8, senior, 12 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 1.4 APG). F Greg Louis (6-7, junior, 4.6 PPG, 2.9 RPG). G Tony Hicks (6-2, sophomore, 14.8 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 2.9 APG). G Miles Jackson-Cartwright (6-3, senior, 11.8 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 2.6 APG). G Tony Bagtas (5-11, freshman, 2.5 PPG, 1.6 RPG, 2.7 APG).
Princeton: F Hans Brase (6-8, sophomore, 11.8 PPG, 6 RPG, 2.7 APG). F Will Barrett (6-10, senior, 11.3 PPG, 4 RPG) . G Ben Hazel (6-5, junior, 10.5 PPG, 4 RPG). G Jimmy Sherburne (6-3, senior, 7.1 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 2.1 APG). G T.J. Bray (6-5, senior, 17.2 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 6.4 APG).
On Penn: At just 2-10, Princeton’s longtime rival is clearly struggling. Though the Quakers have played the likes of Iowa and Villanova, their losses also aren’t just the product of a tough schedule, as they have dropped four games to teams outside of’s top-200 (those games were against Lafayette, Marist, Wagner, and Rider. Still, the cupboard isn’t completely bare for coach Jerome Allen’s crew, as seniors Fran Dougherty and Miles Cartwright-Jackson plus sophomore Tony Hicks looks, on paper at least, like a solid nucleus
“They are a very talented team that hasn’t quite been able to put it together yet, but we aren’t taking them lightly at all,” aid Princeton captain T.J. Bray. “They are a great team with a lot of talented guys, and they’ve had a multiple guys who have had big games against us. We are definitely not taking them lightly and it should be a good game.”
The Big Question Mark: Penn’s chances against the Tigers seem to rest largely on the health of sophomore center Darien Nelson-Henry, who has missed the Quakers last four games with a concussion. When healthy, the 6-foot-11 Nelson Henry is one of the most effective big men in the Ivy League, posting averages of 12.8 points and 7.4 rebounds per game before his injury. Without Nelson-Henry, Penn is forced to rely on 6-7 Greg Louis down low.
“We’ve seen enough of him the last two years to get an idea of what he’s going to bring to the table,” said Mitch Henderson, when asked about Nelson Henry. “I think you prepare for all the different stuff, but not get too crazy with it. You still have to beat them, with him or without him. They are a different team but — this may be a little cliché — we are trying to concentrate on us. If they have a good player that shows up, we want to do a good job against him.”

RIDER GAMEDAY: Broncs start uptstate New York swing at Canisius

Who: Rider (7-5, 3-1) at Canisius (9-6, 3-1)

When: Friday, 7 p.m., Koessler Athletic Center

TV: None

Radio: 107.7 FM The Bronc

Last Time Out: Rider lost to Siena, 62-47; Canisius lost to Marist, 65-62

Background: Rider head coach Kevin Baggett hopes last Saturday’s loss to Siena was the wake-up call his team needed.

The Broncs suffered their first Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference defeat, stumbling through a 62-47 decision in which they shot 27.5 percent. The 47 points were a season low and 33 points off their average per game.

“It gave us a chance to kind of air some things out as coaches and players,” Baggett said. “Sometimes those lessons you have to learn cost you a game and are valuable in the end.”
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Saturday, January 4, 2014


Who: Princeton Tigers (10-2) at Liberty Flames (6-8)
Where/When: 2 p.m. Saturday, Vines Center, Lynchburg, Va.
Coverage: ESPN3, WPRB 103.3
Coaches: Princeton – Mitch Henderson (third season, 47-25 overall). Liberty – Dale Layer (fifth season, 53-61 at Liberty).
Probable Starters
Princeton: C Hans Brase (6-8, sophomore, 11.8 PPG, 6 RPG, 2.8 APG). F Will Barrett (6-10, senior, 11.6 PPG, 4.3 RPG). G Ben Hazel (6-5, junior, 9.9 PPG, 4.1 RPG). G Jimmy Sherburne (6-3, senior, 7.1 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 2.2 APG). G T.J. Bray (6-5, senior, 16.4 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 6.8 APG).
Key Reserves
F Denton Koon (6-8, junior, 10 PPG, 3.9 RPG). F Spencer Weisz (6-4, freshman, 9.2 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 1.9 APG). F Pete Miller (6-10, freshman, 2.5 PPG, 1.4 RPG).
Liberty: F Antwan Burrus (6-6, senior, 13.9 PPG, 5.4 RPG). F Tomasz Gielo (6-9, junior, 9.6 PPG, 4.9 RPG). F JR Coronado (6-8, senior, 4.2 PPG, 5.9 RPG). G Davon Marshall (5-11, senior, 10.5 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 2.7 APG). G John-Caleb Sanders (6-0, senior, 11.3 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 4.1 APG).
Key Reserves
F Andrew Smith (6-9, junior, 5 PPG, 3.9 RPG). C Joel Vander Pol (6-10, senior, 4.9 PPG, 3.9 RPG).
On Liberty: The Flames are a middle-of-the-pack Big South team, having suffered uninspiring losses to the likes of Furman, Austin Peay and UNC Wilmington. Their best win of the season was probably against Sam Houston State, which is only ranked as the 207th best team in Division I by One area that Liberty is pretty good in, however, is offensive rebounds. They snag 13.4 per game, but that doesn’t quite tell the whole story. They are eighth in the country in offensive rebounding percentage at 41.1 percent, which means that on offense they get 41.1 percent of the total possible rebounds. Interestingly, Princeton is eighth in the country at the opposite statistic, allowing opposing offenses to grab just 24.5 percent of the possible offensive rebounds.
Down the Stretch: Since falling to Butler 70-67 in the second game of the season, Princeton has been remarkably good at winning tight games down the stretch. Five of their ten wins — Lafayette, George Mason, Rutgers, Penn State and Kent State — have been by five or fewer points, with the Leopards and the Nittany Lions requiring overtime.
“I attribute it to a few different things,” coach Henderson said after beating Kent State Tuesday. “We have T.J. (Bray), who our guys have confidence in down the stretch. We’ve made free throws. We’ve made some really big shots.”

Friday, January 3, 2014

RIDER GAMEDAY: Broncs start three-game road trip at Siena

Who: Rider (7-5, 3-0) at Siena (5-9, 1-2)

When: Saturday, 7 p.m., Times Union Center

TV: Time Warner Cable

Radio: 107.7 FM The Bronc

Last Time Out: Rider def., Niagara, 85-83; Siena lost to Monmouth, 63-59

Background: The Broncs begin a three-game road trip Saturday night in Albany before continuing on the upstate New York swing with games at Canisius and Niagara.

Siena leads the all-time series 25-13, but Rider swept the season series from the Saints for the first time last year.
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Despite 3-0 MAAC start, Rider searching for top form

Kevin Baggett isn't happy with his team's defense. Photo by John Blaine

The way Kevin Baggett sounded after Rider hung on for a two-point victory over Niagara Thursday night, you would have been hard pressed to know his team just improved to 3-0 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.

Twelve games through the season, the type of defensive performance Baggett expects — and he’s a defense-first kind of guy — is no where to be found.

Against the Purple Eagles, the Broncs had a 10-point lead with 2:55 remaining and saw that trimmed to one with 5.6 seconds left. They only held on after Danny Stewart was able to come up with a rebound on an intentionally-missed free throw in the final seconds.

Opponents are averaging 81.2 points per game and shooting 49.6 percent against Rider.

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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

RIDER GAMEDAY: Broncs resume MAAC play against Niagara

Who: Niagara (4-9, 1-1) at Rider (6-5, 2-0)

When: Thursday, 7 p.m., Alumni Gymnasium

TV: None
Radio: 107.7 FM The Bronc

Last Time Out: Rider def. Penn, 89-88; Niagara def. Brown, 68-65

Series History: Niagara leads 20-17

Background: The final 18 games of the season will all be MAAC games so the conference grind starts Thursday for Rider with a visit from Niagara.

The Purple Eagles have won three of their last four following a 1-8 start.

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