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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, 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.
"We made some defensive adjustments," Baggett said.

Notably, hedging hard on screens and doing a better job of closing out on open shooters.

Actually, they seemed so focused defensively that the offense -- particularly in the first half -- was sloppy. Rider finished with 24 turnovers and struggled to break Marist's press.

"We just needed to take care of the ball a little bit better," Baggett said. "Even though (we) had the turnovers, we didn't get down, we just went back and defended again. I know every night isn't going to be like this, but it has to be close to this."

2. Emerson gets some run: Emerson Bursis saw action midway through the second half -- the earliest he's ever entered a game.

He may have only played one minute, but it was a nice moment for the junior walk-on.

"We had this team meeting a long time ago and Emerson had said one of his (goals) that he had hoped at some point in his career that he would play some memorable moments or some meaningful moments," Baggett said. "I thought tonight was a night to reward him for it especially after I got after those guys yesterday. Our guys root for Emerson. He comes to work everyday and works hard so I was happy for him."

3. The Crazy MAAC: Every week a different school emerges as the best team in the league. Now Canisius takes its turn after Manhattan inexplicably lost at Fairfield. Let's run down where things stand (Sunday's games not included).

"To be honest, this league is always wide open," Rider senior guard Anthony Myles said. "I think we're in a good spot right now, but we're not satisfied at all. We still have a long ways to go. We know that. We just want to keep working hard and see where we end up going into the MAAC Tournament."

1. Canisius (12-6, 6-1): Billy Baron (23.2 points, 5.1 assists) is the best player in the league and that gives the Griffs a chance against anybody. Held on tight to knock off Iona after blowing a 20-point lead in the second half.

2. Manhattan (13-4, 6-2): Just an awful loss at Fairfield for Steve Masiello's crew. Meanwhile, the George Beamon watch continues with the senior guard missing the last three games with a shoulder injury. Masiello said he's going to be very cautious with Beamon, who played just 141 minutes last season because of an ankle injury.

3. Quinnipiac (11-6, 6-2): Two straight wins after a loss to Saint Peter's has the Bobcats back on track. Ike Azotam is a load inside, averaging 16.3 points and 11.4 rebounds. QU's 47.5 boards per game leads the nation.

4. Iona (8-8, 5-2): Couldn't complete the comeback at home against Canisius, but A.J. English has emerged as legitimate scoring option, averaging 18.2 points. English has at least 18 points in five straight contest.

5. Rider (9-8, 5-3): Broncs finally found a way to get some stops in win over Marist. Rider is going to battling for a top-5 spot hoping to avoid playing on the first night of the MAAC Tournament. Will that home loss to Saint Peter's come back to haunt them?

6. Saint Peter's (7-9, 3-4): Remember that Peacocks team that surprisingly won the 2010-11 MAAC tourney? Well, Marvin Dominique is more dynamic than any player John Dunne had on that roster. SPU is going to be a tough out in March.

7. Siena (7-11, 3-4): Young group still trying to find its way under Jimmy Patsos, but get the feeling the Saints might have a surprise up their sleeve.

8. Monmouth (8-10, 2-5): Hawks play hard for King Rice, just not sure they can put a string of wins together.

9. Marist (5-12, 2-5): Getting Adam Kemp back from a knee injury, although he didn't look 100 percent in the loss to Rider, certainly helps Jeff Bower's club. All five of the Red Foxes' wins came in a row after an 0-9 start, but now they've dropped three straight.

10. Niagara (5-14, 2-6): In the Purple Eagles' lone win in their last six, Antoine Mason scored just 15 points and took nine shots. He finished with at least 22 points in all five of the losses.

11. Fairfield (4-14, 1-7): Got to start somewhere and the Stags got their first MAAC win in stunning fashion, upsetting Manhattan.


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