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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

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Rider ready for home opener against Fairfield

Rider senior forward Kahlil Thomas. (John Blaine Photo)

Spend a full month on the road and you can find out something about your team.

Rider head coach Kevin Baggett uses the word resilient to describe his group five games into the season, all of which have been played away from home.

“We’ve been in every game,” Baggett said. “Even when we got blown out (in) the first half at Fordham, we found a way to come back in the second half. I think we’re going to continue to get better and learn from all of the things we’re going through now to be a good team when it’s all said and done.”

Considering the circumstances, the Broncs are in pretty good shape, sitting at 3-2 after their November road show. They finally get to play in front of what should be a boisterous Alumni Gymnasium crowd when they open both the home and Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference slate on Thursday night against the Fairfield (7 p.m., 107.7 FM The Bronc).

“We just had to stay together,” freshman point guard Stevie Jordan said. “Those road trips get long and we get tired, but we had to stay together and play hard.”

Rider, of course, wants to start strong in league play and that means trying to slow down Sydney Johnson’s Runnin’ Stags.

Fairfield swept the two games last season after Johnson ditched the plodding Princeton offense for a run-and-shoot style. The result was a jump from seven wins to 19.

In Year 2 of the Runnin’ Stags, the Connecticut school is off to a 4-1 start, averaging 75 points per game (by contrast Fairfield was putting up 59.5 two seasons ago).

While Baggett hasn’t gone to the extremes of his counterpart, he said in preseason he wanted to push the ball more and avoid having to grind every possession in the halfcourt. So far, Rider has upped its scoring from 66 points per game to 69.6 despite shooting a dismal 20.8 percent (16-for-77) from beyond the arc.

Still, the Broncs managed to win three times during their five-game November road trip.


As Baggett likes to point out, defense travels, and all three of those victories came when they held the opponent under 70 points. They have also won the battle on the boards in all five contests.

“We’re a good defensive team and we can rebound the ball really well,” senior forward Kahlil Thomas said. “We just have to take care of the ball better.”

Now time for some home cooking.


“I can’t wait,” Jordan said.


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