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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

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Rider/Princeton leftovers

Pete Miller shoots over Zedric Sadler. (Gregg Slaboda Photo)

Five leftovers from Princeton's 64-58 win over Rider Friday night in the season opener for both.

1. Shaka Smart and VCU's loss may just be Rider's gain: Teddy Okereafor looked great in his Broncs debut, scoring 16 points while dishing out four assists with just one turnover.

Okereafor played 36 of 40 minutes as the primary ball handler, so it's obvious after Game 1, he's a key figure. He may not score the way he did against the Tigers, but it's an element of his game, which is available if he deems it necessary.

"If my team needs me to do that, I'll score the ball at times," the London, England native said. "If they need me to pass the ball, I'll pass. I just want to stay aggressive."

He caught the eye of Princeton coach Mitch Henderson, too.

"It's a tough opener because they had three guys who had never taken the floor for a Rider team," Henderson said. "The kid Okereafor, I thought he was very good tonight and hurt us in a lot of different ways."

2. Zedric Sadler has the spring back in his step: The junior guard slogged through his sophomore season with a pain in both his knees, but he's come back refreshed and healthy.

He handled 32 minutes of action, putting in nine points on 4 of 6 from the floor. He even busted out the running floater he loves on three different occassions.

"He's our alpha dog," coach Kevin Baggett said. "He really starts the defense for us. We're certainly happy to have him and hopefully we'll have him all year long."

3. It's just one game: Baggett's not panicking after one game, but there could be some concerns for Rider with the way the schedule is built.

The Broncs let a nine-point second half lead — albeit very early — slip away and with a brutal schedule on tap, wins might be hard to come by.

Rider travels to Penn on Tuesday — a game in surely needs to win — before the home opener against a Lehigh squad, which pushed Villanova on Friday night.

After that, the Broncs have the Orlando Classic against Kansas, Michigan State and Georgia Tech/Marquette in the same week.

"It's a long season," Baggett said. "It's just one game. I knew this game was going to be hard because it's here at Princeton and those guys are really good. They're really good at what they do. All year long, we're playing defense in the passing lanes and the next thing you know, you tell your team to not be aggressive and stay in the passing lanes because they make you pay for those things. I knew this would be a tough game. Give those guys credit, they played really well."

4. Hans Brase is a match-up nightmare: At 6-foot-8 and with the ability to knock down 3s, Princeton's sophomore forward is going to give opposing coaches headaches.

He made 4 of 7 from the behind the arc against Rider.

"He's talented," Baggett said. "He's a tough match-up when he's setting those ball screens and popping and you leave him open. I said to Matt (Lopez), he's got to get a little more comfortable playing defense on the perimeter if it calls for that, because at times, he's got to be able to get out there and contest those shots."

5. Rough opening-night for the MAAC: The league went 3-6 with the wins coming from Fairfield, Iona and Quinnipiac.

The Ivy League went 4-2, including 2-1 over the MAAC with Princeton beating Rider and Brown surprisingly over Saint Peter's. Yale lost in double overtime to Quinnipiac.


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