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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, January 3, 2016

Rider's Khalil Alford ready to make an impact in MAAC play

Khalil Alford had 15 points in a 32-minute run off the bench against Hartford. (John Blaine Photo)

Lawrenceville >> Rider coach Kevin Baggett looked down his bench, one that was shorthanded due to injuries and illness, and knew he had to put Khalil Alford in the game.

Alford delivered a career-best 15 points in 32 minutes, helping the Broncs beat Hartford in double-overtime for their third victory in the last four games.

With Kenny Grant now out for the season, Alford is likely going to see more minutes than he has at any point in his career.

“We trust him,” Baggett said. “He’s done a better job guarding, he can get to the glass, he can rebound, he can score inside-out. He’s been here four years for me, and I know when we need a guy off the bench can do a lot of things, he’s one of those guys we trust in. We’re going to need to lean on him more going forward.”

Alford said he’s ready to take on a bigger role.

“I have no choice,” Alford chuckled. “I know our system, I’m a senior, I know what I have to do.”

The senior from Raleigh, North Carolina has always been instant offense when he comes in because he can score both from the perimeter and in the paint.

He’s a career 43.5 percent shooter.

His best performance came in an overtime win at Manhattan last season when he scored 14 points by getting to the middle of the Jaspers’ trapping zone and knocking down a foul-line extended jumper.

“We’re shorthanded, so I definitely have to bring something to the table to make up for the people we lost,” Alford said. “I think I can give us an edge off the bench.”

Rider (4-9, 0-2) resumes MAAC play for the remainder of the season on Monday night at Quinnipiac (7 p.m., TD Bank Center, Hamden, Connecticut, 107.7 FM The Bronc).

This begins a three-game week for the Broncs, which also includes a trip to Iona on Thursday and home date with Fairfield on Saturday.

The Bobcats (4-8, 1-1) have lost four straight. They also defeated Hartford by two points, although that contest finished in regulation.

Rider has won three of its last four, but sports an 0-2 mark in the MAAC after dropping its December games in the midst of a 1-8 start.

“We’re practicing better, the energy is better and everyone wants to win,” Alford said. “We don’t have any quitters on the team, so I think our league is wide open and we’re on the right path.

“We just had to find our groove, our rhythm. That was the main thing, we had to find our identity at the beginning of the season and I think we’re starting to find it now.”

Princeton 89, Hampton 59

Henry Caruso had 14 points and seven rebounds, and Princeton hit 12 3-pointers in a victory over Hampton in Norfolk, Virginia.

Princeton hit four 3-pointers over five first-half possessions to take a 30-23 lead. The Tigers led by eight points at halftime and extended their advantage to 52-37 after making two 3s in the first four minutes of the half.

Steven Cook, Spencer Weisz and Devin Cannady added 12 points apiece for Princeton (8-4). Cook and Weisz each had six rebounds and four assists, and Cannady made four 3-pointers.

The Tigers made 54 percent of their field-goal attempts and held Hampton to 20-of-66 shooting (30 percent).

Brian Darden led Hampton (5-7) with 17 points and hit four 3-pointers.


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