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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

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

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.

Fast and Furious: The Gaels are known for their up-tempo style, averaging 86.6 points per game, which ranks fifth nationally. Point guard A.J. English (26 ppg) leads the country in scoring.

“We can win a game in the 80s, but I don’t want to play to their pace,” Broncs coach Kevin Baggett said. “I don’t want to have to play to anyone’s pace. I want teams to have to play to ours. Their team does a great job of scoring a great deal and we have to get ready to defend that.”

Gone Streaking: Rider is trying to win its third straight, while Iona attempts to avoid a third consecutive defeat. The Broncs had their best game of the young season on Sunday, beating Siena by 12. Teddy Okereafor has bounced back nicely from the Orlando Classic week and scored 28 points against the Saints. Rider also had 18 fastbreak points and will once again have a chance to score in transition facing an opponent who’s giving up 80 points per game.

Depth Perception: Iona has four players averaging at least 13 points, but won’t go much deeper than seven players. In the loss to Monmouth, only reserve guard Ibn Muhammad played more than six minutes off the bench.

With 6-foot-9, 245-pound forward David Laury (16.6 points, 7.4 rebounds), the league’s preseason Player of the Year, the only notable big, the Broncs will likely try to pound the ball inside to 7-footer Matt Lopez and try and get Laury in foul trouble. Gaels coach Tim Cluess doesn’t anticipate getting much help from his bench.

“Not right now I don’t,” he said. “Pretty much we have five to seven guys.”

More From Jimmie: Sophomore guard Jimmie Taylor is off to an indifferent start, averaging 8.2 points. He was 1 for 9 against Siena with a  few of those misses coming from point-blank range.

“He’s still trying to get comfortable in this new offense,” Baggett said. “Last year we were more of a drive and kick. This offense we’re running (requires) a little more patience and understanding of how you’re being guarded. He had some good shot opportunities, and just didn’t make them. I trust that Jimmie will get going.”


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