By Matthew LoPuzzo
The word to describe the 2022-23 regular season home opener for the Broncs was domination, as they crushed local foe TCNJ 87-50 on Nov. 12.
“We really continued to get better as a team individually, collectively and just executing the things that we worked on leading to the game,” said Head Coach Kevin Baggett.
After almost upsetting the reigning Big East regular season champions Providence in their season opener, the Broncs had a chip on their shoulder and were ready to get back on track against TCNJ.
Graduate student forward Ajiri Ogemuno-Johnson got the Broncs rolling with an easy layup to start things off, and from there, Rider was in cruise control for the rest of the game.
The main producers for the Broncs were senior guards Dwight Murray Jr. and Allen Powell scoring a combined 31 of the 85 points for the Broncs.
“I felt like we came out with the energy and we were talking more. We knew we had a goal out there to keep them under 50 and that’s what we did.” said Murray, following the 17-point performance where he shot 85% from the field and 50% from downtown.
Junior forward Tariq Ingraham struggled against Providence’s sturdy paint defense, totaling three fouls and zero points in eight minutes, but the junior bounced back with 10 points and seven rebounds.
“Honestly it’s just fun to be back out there again,” said Ingraham.
The Wake Forest transfer showed what he could bring to the Broncs, using his big frame to bully his way into the paint and get points at the rim.
The Broncs displayed most of their new additions in Saturday’s matchup, with one being senior Rhode Island transfer guard Allen Betrand. After being slotted into a lineup that’s been together their entire collegiate career, he seemed to fit right in.
The first half came to a close after redshirt senior Tyrel Bladen inked his second bucket of the game to push the Broncs lead to 46-27. The Broncs went into the locker room shooting 56% from the field and 50% from three.
A little before the 10 minute mark in the second half, Baggett opted for some fresh faces on the court. Freshman guards Anthony McCall, Jack McFadden and transfer sophomore guard Adetokunbo Bakare all saw the court late.
The Broncs also flashed paint dominance in the game with 54 out of their 87 points coming from inside the paint.
The first home game of the regular season belonged to the Broncs, with it being a good way to send the team off to Dublin where they’ll be facing Stetson University at 5 a.m. EST on Nov. 18.