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

Friday, January 30, 2015

Princeton has huge Ivy opportunity

Henry Caruso has emerged as key player for Princeton. (Jackie Schear Photo)

By Nick Peruffo

The cold logic of the Ivy League’s one-bid setup can seem unfair for teams with stellar nonconference records, but a welcome second chance for those that don’t.

This year’s Princeton Tigers (8-9, 1-0) fall firmly in the latter group.

With only one senior playing more than 15 minutes per game, the Tigers showed their youth during the nonconference. They lost five of their first six games, and then spent a solid month taking just as many steps backwards as forwards.

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Fortunat sparks Rider to 7th straight road win

Junior Fortunat scored nine second-half points to spark Rider. (John Blaine Photo)

Jersey City >> Being his final season, Junior Fortunat has accepted a reduced role, deciding to focus his energy on making this the best possible senior campaign.

On Thursday night, he was asked to spell starting center Matt Lopez for a 10-minute stretch in the second half. With Lopez having hard time adjusting to Saint Peter’s physical man-to-man defense, Fortunat, perhaps the most unlikely choice of players to provide an offensive spark, did just that.

He scored all nine of his points in the second half and Rider held off the Peacocks for a 58-49 victory in a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference game at the Yanitelli Center.
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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Rider at Saint Peter's: What to watch for

Who: Rider (13-8, 7-3) at Saint Peter’s (10-11, 4-6).

When: Thursday, 8 p.m., Yanitelli Center, Jersey City.

TV/Radio: ESPN3/ 107.7 FM The Bronc.

Last Time Out: Rider def. Canisius, 59-46; SPU def. Siena, 69-55.
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Friday, January 23, 2015

Iona figuring out how to cope without Williams

Rider head coach Kevin Baggett peaked at the stat sheet and admitted what everybody already knew: He had no idea who Vangelis Bebis was.

Bebis contributed 16 points, including 4 of 8 from behind the arc to help Iona down Rider, 78-68, in a battle for first place in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.

You wouldn't blame Baggett for not knowing.

Bebis, a freshman from Athens, Greece, hadn't scored more than six points in a game all year or played more than 11 minutes in any contest.

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Monday, January 19, 2015

Okereafor bounces back, more MAAC leftovers

Teddy Okereafor scored 16 points and had six steals in win over Manhattan. (Jackie Schear Photo)

Some extra thought from Rider's 82-79 overtime victory over Manhattan on Sunday. With the win, the Broncs improved to 12-7 overall and 6-2 in the MAAC, meaning they are in a three-way tie with Iona and Monmouth for first. Rider has lost to both so it needs to beat the Gaels Thursday at Alumni Gymnasium.

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Saturday, January 17, 2015

Rider needs Okereafor to re-find confidence

Teddy Okereafor made some key plays against Quinnipiac. (John Blaine Photo)

If Teddy Okereafor has been suffering from a crisis of confidence of late, head coach Kevin Baggett is hopeful some of the crucial plays he made helping secure victory at Quinnipiac will help him snap out of it.

Okereafor, a junior guard in his first season at Rider after transferring from VCU and sitting out last year, got off to a hot start, but has cooled off considerably since posting 21 points in a win over Morgan State on Dec. 18.

In the six games since, Okereafor has reached double figures just once and is shooting 24.5 percent (13 for 53) during that span.

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Thursday, January 15, 2015

What to watch for: Rider at Quinnipiac

Who: Rider (10-7, 4-2) at Quinnipiac (8-7, 2-4).

When: Thursday, 8 p.m., TD Bank Sports Center, Hamden, Connecticut.

TV/Radio: ESPN3/ 107.7 FM The Bronc.

Last Time Out: Rider lost to Monmouth, 55-54; Quinnipiac def. Marist, 66-54.

Background: Coming off a loss in which the Broncs allowed Monmouth to steal the game, they now face a difficult three-game stretch beginning with Thursday night’s visit to Quinnipiac. The Bobcats have won two straight following an 0-4 start in the league.
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Monday, January 12, 2015

Princeton's Koon to graduate, play elsewhere next season

Denton Koon will leave Princeton after graduating in the spring. (John Blaine Photo)

By Nick Peruffo

Former Princeton forward Denton Koon, who officially elected to forgo the remainder of this season do to injury at the end of December, will graduate from the university this spring and look to use his final season of eligibility at another school, The Trentonian learned Monday.

“As I continue to fully recover I will begin pursuing opportunities elsewhere with support from the coaching staff here at Princeton,” Koon said via email. “I have enjoyed every second of my time as a member of the Princeton Basketball program and of course I will always consider myself a Tiger.”

Recurring knee injuries, which limited him to just 18 games last season, hampered Koon’s Princeton career. The Tigers were confident that he’d be able to come back this year, but he was reinjured during the preseason.

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Sunday, January 11, 2015

Rider, Monmouth atop MAAC standings for early showdown

Matt Lopez leads Rider in scoring and rebounding. (Gregg Slaboda Photo)

Lawrenceville >> With a quarter of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference schedule played, Rider and Monmouth are in a position most didn’t expect them to be.

That would be at the top of the standings.

All of a sudden Monday night’s clash at Alumni Gymnasium (7 p.m, 107.7 FM The Bronc), while still relatively early in the league fixtures, has a big-game feel.
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Friday, January 9, 2015

What to watch for: Saint Peter's at Rider

Who: Saint Peter’s (8-8, 2-3) at Rider (9-6, 3-1).

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

Radio: 107.7 FM The Bronc.

Last Time Out: Rider def. Fairfield, 62-46; SPU lost to Manhattan, 68-63.

Background: After playing four of its last five games away from home, Rider finally returns to Alumni Gymnasium in good position to make a run at the top of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference standings. The Broncs host a pair of in-state foes beginning Saturday against the Jersey City-based Peacocks. A victory would be Rider’s sixth straight.
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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Coming off the bench suiting Sadler

Zedric Sadler provides a lift off the bench. (Jackie Schear Photo)

As Matt Lopez sees it, coming off the bench has benefited both Zedric Sadler and the Rider men's basketball team.

"When coach re-arranged the lineup, we gave Zedric more freedom," Lopez said. "Now he comes in to create, which is what we need."

Sadler has been in that sixth man role for the past eight games and it's really starting to bare fruit. He's reached double figures in three straight contests, and had 14 in the Broncs' victory over Fairfield Monday night.

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Sunday, January 4, 2015

Rider, Fairfield heading in opposite directions

Who: Rider (8-6, 2-1) at Fairfield (4-9, 2-1).

When: Monday, 7 p.m., Webster Bank Arena, Bridgeport, Connecticut.

TV/Radio: ESPN3/ 107.7 FM The Bronc.

Last Time Out: Rider def. Marist, 69-59; Fairfield lost to Siena, 68-67.

Background: The Broncs can make it five straight wins if it can beat the Stags, who are trying to avoid a fifth consecutive defeat.
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