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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, 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.

So with third-leading scorer Isaiah Williams out with a foot injury, Iona head coach Tim Cluess did what everyone was expecting right?

Or not.

Cluess started Bebis, played him 28 minutes, and got rewarded with a 16-poing effort. That combined with Schadrac Casimir's 24 points helped the Gaels win on a night when A.J. English went 4 for 17.

"I thought the kids all of a sudden believed they could win again without Isaiah," Cluess said. "I think that was something they had been fighting a little bit. They finally felt like they were the basketball team they could be again."

David Laury, the preseason Player of the Year, did his part with 20 points and 14 rebounds.

"David Laury, I think, he's a great player. Twenty and 14," Baggett said. "On a night when you're going to hold A.J. then Casimir and Bebis beat you. And David obviously beat us. Give those guys credit. They have depth even with Williams going out. I thought Bebis stepped in and gave them a good lift tonight."

Iona has won eight of its last 10 and at least temporarily has sole possession of first place.

"For our guys right now, it's about the belief they can play without one of their best players," Cluess said. "Winning two out of three and being in the other one, I think our guys are believing in themselves."


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