By Carolo Pascale
Coming off the tail end of a stinging overtime loss just two days prior, Rider men’s basketball was dealt a second straight defeat by the Peacocks of Saint Peter’s on Jan. 16. The Broncs lost by seven points for the second game in a row, dropping this one 58-51.
“We just gotta keep getting better and we got to learn from the mistakes we’re watching,” said Head Coach Kevin Baggett.
The first half did not start well for the Broncs as no one could get a handle on the ball. Several times there were plays that could have developed into chances for the Broncs, but the ball was constantly slipping out of players’ hands.
On top of that, both the offense and defense were struggling mightily. With Saint Peter’s playing stout defense and running a fast and fluid offense, the Broncs were having a hard time keeping up.
“Our guys knew what was coming. They had 24 hours to prepare,” said Baggett.
A lot of Rider’s usual key players were struggling on both sides of the ball, leading to Baggett having to dig deeper and deeper into his bench to try and find someone who would give the team some energy. First, it was sophomore guard Corey McKeithan, then it was junior guard Sedrick Altman, next was sophomore forward Nehemiah Benson, and finally, sophomore guard Jaelen McGlone, totaling 10 players in the first half.
“We just can’t keep repeating ourselves. It’s going to shoot us in the foot,” said graduate student Dimencio Vaughn.
Nothing was seeming to work for Rider, especially in the shooting department. By the end of the half, the Broncs shot just 10-for-31 from the field and 1-for-8 from the 3- point line. Vaughn led the Broncs at the end of the half with six points.
Going into the second half, The Broncs looked like a much-improved team, going on a quick 7-0 run. The Broncs clawed back into the game, getting the Saint Peter’s lead all the way down to three at times. But the Broncs, forced to come from behind the whole game, could never get the lead lower than that.
At some points, it seemed like the game was stagnant in the later stages of the second half, as the Broncs were trying to tie the match, and Saint Peter’s was able to regain whatever points Rider chewed off its lead.
But as the final buzzer sounded, the scoreboard in Alumni Gym showed a 58-51 point victory for the Peacocks, leaving the Broncs with their second loss in a row. Vaughn finished the game with another double-double, leading the Broncs with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Vaughn also had five steals, breaking Rider’s program record for steals with 189.
“We’ve got to just prepare for the next game. Be ready to be criticized and take criticism on it. We’re not perfect but we want to get better,” said Vaughn, “You’ve got to want to get better because you can’t just have somebody trying to make you better. You’ve gotta want it.”
With the loss, it sets the Broncs back to 1-4 in conference play and 5-10 overall. The Broncs will now head on the road to face Quinnipiac once again on Jan. 19.