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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

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Rider at Niagara: What to watch for

Who: Rider (17-9, 11-4) at Niagara (4-20, 3-12).

When: Sunday, 2 p.m., ‘Taps’ Gallagher Center, Lewiston, New York.

TV/ Radio: Time Warner Cable/ 107.7 FM The Bronc.

Last Time Out: Rider def. Canisius, 60-59; Niagara lost to Saint Peter’s, 77-65.

Background: The Broncs go for a fourth consecutive victory and a sweep of the Western New York trip when they tangle with the struggling Purple Eagles. Rider has won nine of the last 10 in the series.

Shenanigans!: This trip has produced a few controversial moments over the years. Most famously, Rider was denied a win at the buzzer in the 2011-12 season after incompetent officiating combined with a clock-operating blunder wiped away a game-winning basket that should have stood. Why bring that up? Well, the Broncs were nearly done in under similar circumstances Friday night when the Canisius’ gameday staff was only able que up an important replay when it favored the hosts. Head coach Kevin Baggett was none to pleased, saying in his postgame interview that, “I’ll leave it to the commissioner because that’s something they need to address up here.”

Flu like symptoms: Senior center Matt Lopez, the reigning MAAC Player of the Week, wasn’t at full strength Friday night after missing practice most of the week with the flu. Lopez finished with seven points and eight rebounds in minutes against the Golden Griffins. Teddy Okereafor picked up the slack, scoring 15 points and dishing out eight assists.

Standings Update: With its victory Friday and a loss by Manhattan to Iona later that night, Rider moved two games clear of the Jaspers (whom they’ve swept) and 1 1/2 games ahead of Monmouth, which played Saturday night at Siena. Iona’s triumph all but wrapped up the regular-season title. The Broncs need to win their final five games and have the Gaels go 2-3 to pass them.

Scouting the Purple Eagles: Niagara went 7-26 under Chris Casey in his first season and year two is even worse. The Purps have lost 12 of their last 13. The one victory, though, was over Quinnipiac at home and they scored 105 points in a double OT contest. Five of their 12 league losses have come by 10 points or less and they were unlucky to drop a one-point game at home to Iona. Emile Blackman is the leading scorer, averaging 13.2 points per contest.


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