By Dominick DeRosa
Both the men’s and women’s basketball teams dominated their exhibition games this week. The men’s team played Ningbo University, from China, and the women played TCNJ. The men came out with the victory defeating Ningbo, 115-71; the women also came out hot as they beat TCNJ, 72-42.
In the game against Ningbo, newly acquired freshman guard Tyrei Randall led the team with 22 points, shooting 8-16 from the field and hitting four three-pointers.
Junior guard Anthony Durham finished with 17 points, shooting 6-7 from the field, including five offensive rebounds. After the game, Durham said, “Just being a leader is my main focus. I don’t care if I score 20 points or zero points, I just want to lead these guys to a win.”
Sophomore guard Stevie Jordan boosted the offense with 10 assists, and five steals. Rider erupted from the three-point line in the first half, shooting the ball 9-19, which gave them a 30-point advantage at halftime.
During the post-game press conference Head Coach Kevin Baggett said, “It’s a fun team. You’re going to have a chance to watch these guys grow and get better. I’ve been saying this for a while now. We can score the ball, we’ve just got to be able to defend it.”
Freshman forward Frederick Scott scored 15 points along with 11 rebounds and two blocks. Sophomore forward Devine Eke had a double-double in his debut with 12 points and 12 rebounds in 18 minutes. Rider launched a total of 37 three-point shots, the most in the Baggett era. The Broncs took control with a total of 29 offensive rebounds.
“[Freshman guard Dimencio] is down three games for us, but this is the lineup we’ve been playing with for awhile now. I see this as the lineup that will open up next Friday,” said Baggett.
Jordan will lead the Broncs this season after an impressive freshman season. Jordan was named to the 2016-17 MAAC All-Rookie team after averaging 11.7 ppg, 1.3 steals per game (spg) and 5.6 assists per game. The men will open the regular season at home against Hampton on Nov. 10 at 8 p.m. before an early season test at Xavier on Nov. 13. The Muskateers were ranked No. 17 in two preseason polls, the AP Top 25 and USA Today Coaches Poll.
For the women, sophomore guard Stella Johnson carried the team with 16 points, eight rebounds and five steals in 29 minutes. Senior guard Kamila Hoskova finished off with 16 points and seven rebounds. Freshman guard Jaiden Morris capped off 14 points and four steals on the defensive end.
Rider took advantage with points off of turnovers, outscoring TCNJ 30-0. The Broncs took control of TCNJ as they had a 35-point lead with three minutes to go in the fourth quarter, making it the largest lead of the game. Rider erupted in the second half, shooting 17-36 from the field; scoring 41 of their total 72 points. On the defensive end, Rider forced 27 turnovers and held TCNJ to only 28 percent shooting from the field.
Hoskova and Johnson are tasked with filling the shoes of 2017 MAAC Player of the Year Robin Perkins, ‘17. Losing 15.5 ppg will force Hoskova and Johnson to improve their scoring for Rider to remain among the elite teams in the MAAC. Johnson was named to the 2016-17 MAAC All-Rookie Team after averaging 9.9 ppg and 2.8 spg. Hoskova earned All-MAAC Second Team honors with 12.8 ppg and 5.5 rebounds per game. The Broncs’ first regular season game is on Nov. 10 at 5:30 p.m. against Bucknell.
The women’s basketball team will be selling raffle tickets and giving away prizes during a fundraiser for Claddagh Fund in the first game of a doubleheader with the men’s team.