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

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Back on the attack, Rider's Taylor finding scoring touch

Jimmie Taylor had a career high 25 in the win over Wagner. (John Blaine photo)

It’s no secret that Rider needs Jimmie Taylor to show up on a consistent basis to challenge at the top of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.

In the Broncs’ final game of 2014, Taylor showed he’s finding his scoring form at the perfect time.

The sophomore guard pumped in a career-high 25 points in the victory over Wagner — Rider’s third straight and fifth in its last six contests.

Something both Taylor and head coach Kevin Baggett attributed to his attack-first mentality.
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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Rider survives late Wagner rally, finishes 2014 over .500

Staten Island, N.Y. >> It shouldn’t have been as close as it finished, but Rider made the short trip back to New Jersey above .500 and feeling good about itself entering the New Year.

The Broncs picked up their third straight victory and fifth in their last six games, holding off a late Wagner rally for a 76-71 triumph Monday night at the Spiro Sports Center.

“We want some of them back where we could have competed better, but we’re feeling good,” sophomore guard Jimmie Taylor said. “We’re going to 2015 off a win and we’re going into MAAC play with some confidence and momentum.”

Rider (7-6) almost let a lot of solid work slip away in a nervy final three minutes in which it saw a 13-point lead get whittled down to three with 1:45 remaining.
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Friday, December 19, 2014

Rider bests Morgan State to reach .500

Teddy Okereafor had 21 points. Jackie Schear Photo

Lawrenceville >> Kevin Baggett was posed the question of whether he would have signed up for a .500 record with one game left in 2014.

“I’m certainly signing up for it with the schedule we had,” Baggett said after Rider beat Morgan State, 62-48, Thursday night at Alumni Gymnasium and evened its record at 6-6. “There’s a couple games I’d like to have back, but being at 6-6 with the schedule we played, I’m certainly happy.”

The Broncs have one game left before the calendar turns to 2015 — at Wagner on the 29th — and Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference play takes up the remainder of the schedule.
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Thursday, December 18, 2014


Who: Princeton Tigers (3-8) vs Lipscomb Bison(4-6) 

When/Where: 8 p.m. Friday, Jadwin Gym

Probable Starters

Princeton: G Spencer Weisz (6-4, Soph., 13.3 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 3.1 APG), F Hans Brase (6-8, Jr., 13 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 3.4 APG), F Pete Miller (6-10, Soph., 6.1 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 1.8 APG), G Amir Bell (6-3, Fr., 8.5 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 2.1 APG),  F Steven Cook (6-5, Soph., 10.3 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 2.1 APG)

Lipscomb: C Chad Lang (6-11, Sr., 4 PPG, 2.5 RPG), F Malcolm Smith (6-5, Sr., 13.3 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 1.8 APG), G Talbott Denny (6-6, Jr., 4.8 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 1 APG), G Josh Williams (6-5, Soph., 15 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 1.8 APG), G Nathan Moran (5-9, Fr., 9.9 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 2.9 APG)

Last time out: The Tigers nearly scored a signature win last Saturday at Cal, leading the Bears by as many as 11 points. The Princeton offense, however, ground to a halt in the second half, particularly during a 10-minute stretch where the Tigers were outscored 13-0. The Bears would go on to win 67-57.

Looking at Lipscomb: On paper, the Tigers look like the favorites against the Bison. rates the Atlantic Sun squad as the 223rd best team in the nation (Princeton clocks in at 194) and gives the Tigers a 70 percent chance to win the game. The Bison have not beaten a team with a rating better than 275, with two of their wins coming against sub-DI teams. Opponents are averaging 77.5 points per game against them, and they have only allowed fewer than 60 points once all season.

Looking ahead: After their game against Lipscomb, the Tigers will only have three more DI non-conference games on their schedule. They’ll host Liberty on Monday, then travel to Wake Forest Dec. 31 before hosting Norfolk State Jan. 6. They’ll open Ivy League playe at home against Penn Jan. 10.

Rider's Kahlil Thomas on verge of signature game

Kahlil Thomas is coming off a strong game in win over Hartford. (Photo by John Blaine)

Lawrenceville >> Kahlil Thomas is ready to break through.

Rider’s sophomore forward hasn’t had that take-notice game yet, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t close.

Thomas put in his best shift of the season in Saturday’s win against Hartford, scoring nine points and grabbing eight rebounds, leaving him just short of the double-double that alludes him.

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Saturday, December 13, 2014

Rider holds off Hartford

Teddy Okereafor's didn't have his best shooting night, but his second made basket of the night was enough to give Rider a road victory over Hartford.

Okereafor's jumper with 10 seconds left lifted the Broncs to a 63-61 win over the Hawks Saturday night at Chase Family Arena.

Okereafor finished 2 of 8 from the floor for just four points.

Hartford's John Carroll went to the free throw line with 2.8 seconds remaining and a chance to tie, but failed on his first attempt. He missed the second on purpose but Rider batted the ball out of bounds on the ensuing scramble, giving the Hawks one more chance, but they mishandled the inbound pass.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014


Who: Princeton Tigers (3-6) at St. Peter’s Peacocks (3-6)
When/Where: 8 p.m. Wednesday, Yanitelli Center, Jersey City
Projected Starters
Princeton: G Spencer Weisz (6-4, Soph., 14.9 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 3.2 APG), F Hans Brase (6-8, Jr., 12.4 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 3.7 APG), F Pete Miller (6-10, Soph., 6.8 PPG, 3 RPG, 1.4 APG), G Amir Bell (6-3, Fr., 8.3 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 2.4 APG), F Steven Cook (6-5, Soph., 11 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 2 APG)
St. Peters: C Quadir Welton (6-8, Soph., 7.3 PPG, 5.6 RPG), F Marvin Dominique (6-7, Sr., 15.9 PPG, 9.2 RPG), F Tyler Gaskins (6-4, Sr., 7.7 PPG, 1.8 RPG, 2.2 APG), G Jamel Fields (6-2, Sr., 3 PPG, 1.3 RPG, 2.4 APG), G Trevis Wyche (6-1, Soph., 7.1 PPG, 2 RPG, 4 APG)
Washington watch: The Peacocks could get a significant boost Wednesday with the possible return of senior guard Desi Washington, who injured his hand in their season-opening loss to Brown. Last season, Washington was second on the team in scoring at 13.5 points per game.
“There's a good chance he might practice (Monday) and be in the lineup on Wednesday,” said St. Peter’s coach John Dunne on Monday. “That's not a guarantee, but it's possible. He's been doing some shooting and ball handling.”
Inside the numbers: According to Ken Pomeroy’s statistical analysis, the Peacocks will be a slight favorite against the Tigers with a 64 percent change to win the game. Though St. Peter’s has struggled to score the ball, managing just 59.6 points per contest (316th in Division I) it has been much better on the defensive end, allowing 58.7 (43rd in DI).
Thanks, but no thanks: Coach Mitch Henderson had an amusing anecdote after Saturday’s win against Stony Brook, involving the Tigers’ 64-57 loss to Drexel back in 2012. Both teams had high expectations that year but had struggled early, with Princeton 3-4 and Drexel 2-6 coming into the game. According to Henderson, Dragons coach Bruiser Flint came up to him after the game and thanked him for the much-needed win.
“I just wanted to, like, push him,” Henderson deadpanned, concluding the story by saying the win over the Seawolves made him appreciate where Flint was coming from.

Rider going for 2-0 MAAC start at Iona

Who: Rider (4-5, 1-0) at Iona (4-3, 0-1).

When: Wednesday, 7 p.m., Hynes Athletic Center, New Rochelle, New York.

Radio: 107.7 FM The Bronc.

Last Time Out: Rider def. Siena, 80-68; Iona lost to Monmouth, 92-89.

Background: The Broncs go for a 2-0 start in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference play against preseason favorite Iona, which was dealt a surprise defeat by Monmouth in its league opener. Rider has lost four of its last five trips to New Rochelle.
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Monday, December 8, 2014

MAAC notebook: Siena's depth tested; Washington injury update; Early league results

Rider's Matt Lopez hauls in a rebound against Siena. Gregg Slaboda Photo.

Since he's not coaching in the NBA, Jimmy Patsos can't sign a free agent to assist his depleted frontcourt.

Having already lost Imoh Silas before the season, the Saints suffered another blow when starting forward Brett Bisping dislocated his toe in Friday's victory over Quinnipiac. Patsos said on Monday's conference call he doesn't expect Bisping, who was averaging 8.7 points and 4.7 rebounds, back until mid-January and that was being hopeful.

In the meantime, he'll have to make do with sophomore Javion Ogunyemi and freshman Willem Brandwijk.

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Saturday, December 6, 2014

Rider hosts Siena in MAAC opener

Who: Siena (3-3, 1-0) at Rider (3-5, 0-0).

When: Sunday, 2 p.m., Alumni Gymnasium.

TV/Radio: None/107.7 FM The Bronc.

Last Time Out: Rider def. Central Connecticut State, 69-56; Siena def. Quinnipiac, 88-67.

Background: The Broncs begin Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference play against the Saints, who have a league win under their belt after beating Quinnipiac Friday. The schedule makers saddled Rider with the projected top two teams in the conference to start. The Broncs go to Iona on Wednesday before playing three more non-league games.
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Friday, December 5, 2014


Who: Princeton Tigers (2-6) vs. Stony Brook Seawolves (5-3) 

When/Where: 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Jadwin Gym

Projected starters
Princeton: G Spencer Weisz (6-4, Soph., 15.6 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 3.1 APG), F Hans Brase (6-8, Jr., 12.6 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 3.8 APG), F Pete Miller (6-10, Soph., 6.1 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 1.3 APG), G Amir Bell (6-3, Fr., 9.1 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 2.3 APG), F Steven Cook (6-5, Soph., 8.9 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 2 APG)
Stony Brook: F Jameel Warney (6-8, Jr., 15.9 PPG, 12.3 RPG, 1.9 APG), F Rayshaun McGrew  (6-7, Jr., 8 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 1 APG), G Carson Puriefoy (6-0, Jr., 14.4 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 3.8 APG), G Kameron Mitchell (6-4, Soph., 3.4 PPG, 0.8 RPG, 1.4 APG), G Roland Nyama (6-6, Fr., 6 PPG, 4.4 RPG)

Holding the line: Princeton’s biggest problem this year has been on the defensive end. The Tigers are allowing opponents to score 70.4 points per game, which ranks just 263rd out of 351 Division I teams. Princeton has been particularly vulnerable to the 3-point shot, allowing opponents to hit an astonishing 46.7 percent of their shots from beyond the arc — the highest figure in DI. The issue is also just as much about quantity as quality. The Tigers have given up 63 total 3-points in just eight games, accounting for 46.7 percent of their opponents’ total points. That figure is the third highest in the nation.

Warney warning: Though the Seawolves aren’t particularly reliant on the 3-point shot, they do feature one of the more impactful post players in the country. Jameel Warney is currently averaging 12.2 rebounds per game, which trails only UC Santa Barbara’s Alan Williams for the best mark in the nation. Warney’s rebound percentage is 22.1 percent, good for ninth in the country.

Youth movement: This year’s Tigers squad is among the youngest in recent memory. Six of their top seven scorers are underclassmen, while five are either freshmen or sophomores. Outside of the starting five, Princeton has also gotten contributions from sophomore Henry Caruso 5 points and 2.4 rebounds in just 12 minutes per game) and freshman Alec Brennan (who had 9 points and 2 blocks against San Diego.)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

PRINCETON GAMEDAY: Fairleigh Dickinson


Who: Princeton Tigers (2-5) vs. Fairleigh Dickinson Knights (2-3)

When/Where: 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, Rothman Center, Teaneck

Coverage: WPRB 103.3, NEC Front Row

Probable Starters
Princeton: G Spencer Weisz (6-4, Soph., 15.3 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 2.9 APG), F Hans Brase (6-8, Jr., 12.1 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 3.6 APG), F Pete Miller (6-10, Soph., 6.7 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 1.3 APG), G Amir Bell (6-3, Fr., 8.7 PPG, 3 RPG, 1.9 APG), F Steven Cook (6-5, Soph., 8.6 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 2.1 APG).
FDU: F Darius Stokes (6-7, Sr., 5.4 PPG, 4.8 RPG), G Marques Townes (6-4, Fr., 6 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 1 APG), G Mustafaa Jones (6-3, Sr., 14.2 PPG, 1.6 RPG, 1.8 APG), G Matt MacDonald (6-5, Soph., 11.8 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 1.6 APG), G Darian Anderson (6-1, Fr., 10 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 3.4 APG).

What to expect: Though the Tigers have lost five of their last six contests, they will enter Wednesday night’s contest against FDU as favorites. Ken Pomeroy has the Knights rated at the 314th best team in Division I (Princeton clocks in at 176, down from 123 at the start of the season) and gives the 64 percent chance to win. The only common opponent the two teams have faced is the Lafayette Leopards, with Princeton losing 83-66 and FDU falling 82-61.

Youth movement: Despite the Tigers relatively rough trip to California (they went 1-2 in the Wooden Classic), the team’s underclassmen appear to be making strides. Sophomore Steven Cook appears to have supplanted senior Ben Hazel in the starting lineup, and highly touted freshman point guard Amir Bell had his best game to date against San Diego, scoring 17 points and grabbing four rebounds in 32 minutes. After playing a total of 17 minutes in the first four games, sophomore Henry Caruso has emerged as a contributor off the bench, scoring 15 against UTEP. 

Looking ahead: After FDU, the Tigers will play a pair of tough contests against Stony Brook Dec. 6 and at St. Peter’s Dec. 10. The Seawolves made it to the America East finals a year ago and have already beat a pair of top-150 opponents in Columbia and Western Kentucky. St. Peter’s is just 2-5, but the Jersey City school beat Rutgers 68-50 on Nov. 25.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Orlando Classic rewind; looking ahead

Bad week for Kevin Baggett and his Broncs. (AP Photo)

This past week was one Kevin Baggett and his Rider Broncs would rather forget. The Orlando Classic (at Kansas in an out-bracket game, Michigan State, Georgia Tech and Santa Clara as it turned out) was always going to be difficult, but the Broncs come back to Lawrenceville having lost all four games. What went wrong? How can they get it fixed?

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