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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

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Rider's Kahlil Thomas proves he tough in near-upset of Maryland

Kahlil Thomas guards Maryland's Diamond Stone. AP Photo

College Park, Md. >> Kahlil Thomas took Rider’s near-miss at No. 3 Maryland harder than most of his teammates.

Thomas felt responsible for the Broncs coming up short of a memorable upset after he missed the front end of a one-and-one and couldn’t come up with a key rebound in the final minute.

But both head coach Kevin Baggett and point guard Teddy Okereafor absolved the junior forward of any blame, pointing out that Rider wouldn’t have been in position to win if it wasn’t for Thomas’ toughness.

“His effort was there,” Baggett said. “He really competed and did some great things. He was going up against two big guys down there, so I’m proud of the way he fought. I’m proud of the way he’s coming along.” 

Thomas finished with a game-high 14 points and four rebounds in 25 minutes. He played most of the time in foul trouble after picking up two quick ones before the first media timeout.

His back-to-back buckets, the second of which came crashing the glass for an rebound putback, made it a one-possession game with 1:09 left.

Considering the opposition, there’s plenty to be said about his performance. The Terrapins came at him with three monsters — Robert Carter (6-9, 235), Jake Layman (6-9, 220) and Diamond Stone (6-11, 255) — and Thomas, who is 6-7, 225, battled admirably.

“We need that from Kahlil everyday,” Okereafor said. “We need him to compete against some bigs that are good in our league. This was the perfect matchup. They got Diamond Stone, a great player ... Carter’s a great player. They’re huge, too. They’re 6-9 and 7-foot, so he’s got to be physical, he’s got to box out.”

Thomas insisted he wasn’t fazed by the size and strength of Maryland’s bigs.

“I’ve been an undersized five all my life,” Thomas said, “so I’m used to it.”

Thomas is the Broncs’ main interior threat right now. Sophomore Kenny Grant (6-9, 240) can only play short spurts until he gets his conditioning up and freshman Lacey James (6-9, 230) isn’t ready to compete at this level yet.

So it has to be Thomas, and Baggett thinks the Floridian is ready for that challenge.

“He cares,” Baggett said “He wants to be great. He wants his team to be great.”
Added Thomas: “We just want to try and show everybody we’re not a little team anymore. We’re coming at anybody. We’re coming to play hard.”


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