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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 (https://twitter.com/kj_franko) or email kfranko@trentonian.com.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Rider' Matt Lopez out for season with torn ACL

Matt Lopez is out for the season with a torn ACL. (John Blaine Photo)

Rider now has a huge hole in the middle.

Starting center Matt Lopez has been ruled out for the season, opting to have surgery on a torn right ACL suffered in last Thursday's victory over Quinnipiac.

Head coach Kevin Baggett confirmed the news Thursday morning.
"We all just feel bad for Matt with all the bad luck he's been through at the different schools," Baggett said. "It's just tough because he was having a great year and the possibility this team could really do something."

Puerto Rican media outlet El Nuevo Dia reported Wednesday that Lopez had decided to go under the knife, but Baggett said Rider wasn't ready to confirm that until speaking to all parties.

Lopez is a member of the Puerto Rico national team and had an offer to play professionally there after graduating, according to the report.

Lopez was injured after his right leg got rolled up on in a fluky collision against Quinnipiac. After being helped off the court, trainers checked the senior 7-footer who was able to walk — albeit gingerly — and ride the exercise bike.

He didn't play in Sunday's 65-61 loss to Niagara, but was with the team.

Rider played one other time without Lopez — a 69-59 victory at Marist on Jan. 2 — because of illness.

The school was originally hoping the injury was just a sprain, and that Lopez, who leads the team in points (12.3) and rebounds (7.7), would be able to return by the MAAC tournament.

"Matt has not only been an All-MAAC caliber performer this year but has been our most valuable player," Baggett said. "We played a game and won without him earlier this year, and we’ll just have to do the same the rest of the way."

The Broncs (19-10, 13-4) have already clinched a top-five seed and won't play until March 7 in the quarterfinals. They can lock up the No. 2 seed with a victory over Monmouth (16-13, 12-5) Thursday night in West Long Branch.

Lopez came to Rider prior to the 2013-14 season as a transfer from Utah State to be nearer a sick grandparent. The school applied to the NCAA for a legislative relief waiver, but the governing body of college athletics denied that request, forcing Lopez to sit for the season.

He spent two seasons at La Salle — one a redshirt year — before transferring to Utah State.

This was his first and only season of eligibility at Rider.

1 Comments:

Blogger Yonkers said...

Really, is Rider cursed? No NCAA tourney appearances in the nearly 20 years since we joined the MAAC. This is one of the only years since I've been following Rider (starting when I went to school there in '99) when the team actually showed heart and grit, and won close games and tough road games. I guess I will never see them in the big dance my whole life.

February 27, 2015 at 11:08 AM 

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