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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 14, 2015

Three Leftovers: Princeton 64, Rider 56

Devin Cannady tries to drive past Jimmie Taylor. Jackie Schear Photo.

Princeton held off Rider on opening night of the college basketball season behind a game-high 17 points from freshman Devin Cannady. You can read the gamer here. Now to the leftovers (after the jump).

1. Princeton is good: The Tigers were a confident bunch before the season started and showed why on Friday night. They even did it without starting forward Hans Brase, who missed the game with a knee injury (Brase was on crutches and coach Mitch Henderson called him day to day, so stay tuned to see how this one plays out ...). What you liked most about this performance, other than Cannady potentially emerging as the Ivy Rookie of the Year, was what Princeton got from center Pete Miller. Or as Henderson called him, "a liftetime two rebounds a game guy," grabbing a career-high 12 to go with nine points.

"I thought Pete was terrific rebounding the ball," Henderson said. "That's what we needed him to do and he did it. He was big and he was active and played like you're supposed to play as a junior."

Miller also had a key block on a Rider layup attempt that would've cut the Tigers' lead to three late in the second half. It appeared Miller may have got the benefit of the doubt from the official on a bang-bang goaltending call.

2. Rider's offense is a work in progress: Kevin Baggett said before the season that this team may struggle to score in halfcourt early on and that was true Friday night. The Broncs shot it at 36.8 percent (they started the game 1 for 9) and got behind by 16 in the first half before making a run to briefly take a three-point lead. There's clearly going to be an adjustment period with the focal point of the offense shifting to the guards instead of hammering the ball inside to a dominant center like they did last season.

"It's the first game, so we're not going to panic," Baggett said. "We got to play smarter. We got to defend and we can't have breakdowns when the game is on the line."

Speaking of those guards, the team's two best players -- Teddy Okereafor and Jimmie Taylor -- went a combined 4-for-18. That's not going to get it done. Princeton did a great job of trapping Okereafor on high ball screens and forcing him to give it up. What the Tigers do so well is anticipate the next pass, and as a result, the ball rotation away from the trap isn't quick enough.

"That was a key focal point for us," Henderson said. "You prepare for games and who are the Xs and who are the Os. For them, that's Teddy and Jimmie, both of those guys are very good players. You're doing your jobs and they can still make plays, but I thought we did the right kind of job containing them."

As for positives, Kahlil Thomas contributed 12 points, working as the primary post presence and Xavier Lundy scored all nine of his points during Rider's second half push. When the Broncs were able to get in open spaces (10-2 on fastbreak points), they had that 23-4 run straddling the first and second half.

3. Ivy goes 2-1 vs. MAAC; Huge win for Monmouth: Yale picked up a 70-57 win over Fairfiled, while Princeton's next opponent, St. Peter's, beat Brown, 77-65. ... Monmouth is a contender in the MAAC. King Rice's Hawks rallied from a 13-point second-half deficit and beat UCLA in overtime, 84-81 at Pauley Pavilion. File that one away just in case the Hawks are teetering on the NCAA Tournament bubble in March.

This is what King Rice said on the MAAC conference call when asked about his team's confidence now that Monmouth is in its third year in the league: "We just tried to keep our heads low and keep working. Each year we've done a little bit better than where we were picked. The kids are confident because they are juniors now and have been together. They know what to expect."

Up Next: Princeton: Saturday vs. Saint Peter's (Dillon Gym), 9 p.m.
Rider: Tuesday at La Salle, 7 p.m.


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