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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

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Rider looking for winning run to finish regular season

LAWRENCEVILLE — At this time last year, Rider was in a similar position: Toiling in the middle of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference hoping to move up the league standings all while avoiding the play-in round of the conference tournament.

Not much has changed this go round with six games to play.

The Broncs have lost two straight and are 12-11 overall and 8-6 in the MAAC, sitting in fifth place, four games behind leader Iona. The top five finishers get a bye at the conference tournament and will only have to win three games instead of four.

Of course, Rider ran off six straight a season ago to finish second, only missing out on the regular-season title when Niagara also won on the final day.

That hasn’t been lost this week on coach Kevin Baggett or his players.

“We certainly talked about it,” Baggett said. “These guys understand the importance of the end of the year and what we need to get done to stay out of the play-in game and not have to play four games instead of three.”

Said senior guard Anthony Myles, who is averaging a team-best 17 points per game: “At this point in the season, everybody is tired. Some teams don’t even want to play anymore. Like I said, our guys still come with energy. We love being on the floor. I’m excited to see where we end up at.”

Look at it this way: While the Broncs are holding onto the fifth spot by one game over Siena, they have four of their last six against teams ahead of them in the standings. Four of the final six games are also at home.

That stretch starts Thursday night against Manhattan (17-6, 10-4) — one of the schools with a leg up in the standings.

“We’re kind of glad our schedule is like this so we can get that signature win … and hopefully a couple of them because that will put us in a good spot going into the (MAAC) tournament,” Myles said.

In the first meeting, the Jaspers gave Rider fits with their pressure, jumping out to a quick double-digit lead that they never relinquished.

Baggett said his team has learned from that.

“They punched us in the face first,” the second-year coach said. “We came back out and responded the second half, but you have to come out and do it for 40 minutes. They’re a good team and we have to find a way to be more consistent with what we’re doing.

“When I went back and looked at the tape again yesterday that first four, five-minute spurt, we turned the ball over trying to figure out their press and then for the most part we did a good job breaking their press. We’re going to have some turnovers, but we got to make sure they don’t turn into easy baskets.”

Despite a weather forecast calling for 6-10 inches of snow, the game is expected to be played as scheduled. Manhattan travelled on Wednesday so the only hiccup could be getting the officials to Alumni Gymnasium.

The Broncs may not mind the skies opening yet again this winter. They are 3-0 when it snows.

That was brought to Baggett’s attention on Wednesday when he was asked if he ever thought he would have to answer so many questions about the weather.

“This season has been really interesting,” he said. “We haven’t been able to get our fans out here as much as we like to have them because of the weather of late when we are home. We weren’t home in January and then when we finally get home in February, we can’t get everybody here. At the end of the day, you just have to go play the game. You have to find a way to win.”

Ultimately, a victory is the one thing Rider needs most.

“We have enough,” Baggett said, before reassuring himself, “we definitely have enough and we have the leadership to be able to do it as well.”


The Rider women go for a fourth straight win Thursday night when they visit Fairfield for a 6 p.m. tip at Webster Bank Arena. The game can be seen on ESPN3.

The Stags (15-8, 10-4) are having an excellent season and are coming off a 72-68 victory over Marist.

The Broncs (12-11, 8-6) begin a stretch with four of their last six away from Alumni Gymnasium. They sit in fifth place in the MAAC, three games ahead of the Canisius, Niagara, Manhattan, Monmouth quartet.

Fairfield, which beat Rider, 67-61 on Dec. 29, is third behind Iona and Marist.

Senior forward Katie Cizynski leads the Stags in scoring at 15.9 points per game.


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