By Steven Eggert
After defeating St. Peter’s on Feb. 14 by a score of 72-57, the Broncs look to continue their efforts in this weekend’s game against Marist (7-18).
Junior guard Anthony Myles finished with 17 points for the Broncs, followed by freshman guard Zedric Sadler who had a career high 16 points, knocking down four three-pointers.
Despite St. Peter’s position in the standings, the Peacocks are a top five defensive team in the MAAC.
While down 31-23 with 2:36 left in the first half, a timeout was called by the Broncs. After the timeout, Rider went on an 8-0 run to tie the game at 31. The momentum carried the Broncs to outscore the Peacocks 41-26 in the second half.
Turning the page, the Broncs will now look to rectify any mistakes committed in previous games as they prepare to take on Marist on Feb. 17.
Head Coach Kevin Baggett believed that settling for three-pointers rather than pushing to the basket hurt the Broncs’ in the teams losses.
“After I went back and looked at the tapes, I saw a lot of plays where we could’ve scored from inside the paint,” Baggett said. “I prefer getting to the basket and trying to score more in the lane as opposed to relying on the three. It cost us the first half of the Iona game because we got down by seven at half.”
Baggett had a specific message in mind when preparing the team for this weekend’s game.
“My message to this team is desperation,” Baggett said. “We have to be the team that has to play with a sense of urgency, controlling our own destiny. We’re two games from first and we’re two and a half games from seventh, so every game now is important.”
Senior guard Jon Thompson and Myles have been the leading scorers for Rider.
“We’re best when we play inside and out,” Myles said. “It’s important that we have a good balance of scoring from our guards and our bigs, because our bigs can’t do it alone.”
Marist recently defeated two top MAAC teams: Iona(15-10) and Loyola (MD) (17-9). Marist is competing with St. Peter’s and Siena for the eighth and final seed in the MAAC Tournament.
The Red Foxes are led by junior center Adam Kemp, who is the reigning MAAC Player of the Week after putting up 52 points and 29 rebounds in the past two games. Sophomore guard Chavaughn Lewis leads Marist with 15.8 ppg and has scored 20 or more points in five straight games.
“They’re starting to find Kemp in the post and he’s starting to produce,” Baggett said. “Then the other kid, Lewis, is a sophomore and is really good as well. We’ve got to come ready to defend Kemp and Lewis, but they’ve got other guys that are good. I know they’ve struggled, but they’re dangerous.”
Marist is a similar team to St. Peter’s. Both teams spread the perimeter with guards but are capable of frustrating a team inside the paint both offensively and defensively.
“Both Marist and St. Peter’s are teams that have a good inside presence and guards that play off of their bigs,” Myles said. “So the challenge will be containing their bigs.”
After Feb. 17, Alumni Gym is done hosting men’s basketball games for the season, and it is important for the Broncs to end the home season on a positive note before the last three games of the year.
“I think these are two must-win games, especially because these are the last two conference games at home,” Baggett said. “Then we have the Bracketbuster next Saturday but we need to finish it up strong at home.”