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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

Friday, March 7, 2014

MAAC TOURNEY: Rider hopes third time is the charm against Iona in quarters

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — The old adage says it’s hard to beat the same team three times in one season.

Rider (14-16) hopes the third time is the charm when it meets top-seeded Iona (20-9) in the quarterfinals of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament Saturday (noon, ESPN3, 107.7 FM The Bronc) here at the MassMutual Center.

The Gaels swept the regular-season series, winning 80-77 in Lawrenceville and 97-81 in New Rochelle, N.Y.

This will be the third meeting between the schools in 16 days.

“They’ve been our nemesis this year,” Broncs head coach Kevin Baggett said. “We’re excited to play them again. When they say it’s difficult to win three times against an opponent, I believe that.”

In the first meeting, Iona led by 13 with three minutes left until Jimmie Taylor got hot — he scored 13 of Rider’s final 15, including 10 in a row — and the Broncs were down one with less than a minute left.

In the second meeting, the Gaels raced out to a 22-point first lead and pulled away late after Rider had come back to tie the score early in the second half.

“We can’t allow them to get a huge lead against us and have to use all that energy trying to get back before run out of gas again,” Baggett said. “We’ll mix up some things.”

The eighth-seeded Broncs need another big game from senior forward Danny Stewart, who scored 25 points and grabbed nine rebounds in the 71-60 opening-round win over Monmouth.

If senior guard Anthony Myles can rediscover his jump shot that would help, too. Myles scored 13 points against the Hawks, but was 4-for-13 shooting, including 2-for-8 from long range.

Iona has the most balanced offensive attack in the MAAC with five players averaging in double figures.
Senior Sean Armand (17.8 ppg) and sophomore A.J. English (17.7 ppg) were both first team all-league selections.

Junior forward David Laury averages 14 points and 7.7 rebounds off the bench. At 6-foot-9 and 255-pounds Laury is a tough matchup for because he moves like a guard.

“Those guys are really good,” Baggett said. “They’ve got any number of guys that can score and those guys play well together.”

The Gaels have won at least 20 games in each of head coach Tim Cluess’ four seasons and are trying to reach the NCAA tournament for the third consecutive year.

The school and Cluess agreed to a contract extension through the 2018-19 season on Thursday.


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