By Tom Regan
After starting off the season on the wrong foot, the Broncs (2-4) attempted to bounce back against four non-conference opponents.
The Broncs had strong games from their most consistent players in the Nov. 23 game against Central Connecticut State (1-5), where the Broncs won 89-73. Senior guard Anthony Myles put together a 19-point performance and senior forward Daniel Stewart had 17 points of his own. However, the team received a standout performance from sophomore guard Zedric Sadler in only his second game back from injury, leading the team with 21 points.
Head Coach Kevin Baggett acknowledged that it was a great performance for Sadler, but also noted that he is still not 100%.
“Zedric is still hurt,” Baggett said. “He’s not healthy at this point, he’s struggling to get healthy and that’s a big thing with us because normally he’s one of our major leaders.”
Stewart believed that the team played much better in the win against Central Connecticut State.
“We had tons of energy and played really hard,” Stewart said.
The Broncs followed that win with a loss against Albany (4-3), 70-59 on Nov. 26. Rider fell behind early in the contest and trailed 32-16 after the first half, a margin that proved to be too large to overcome.
Baggett thought his team played poor defensively in the first half.
“Offense is not our problem,” Baggett said. “The second half we defended well against Albany, but we got down by too many points in the first half.”
Rider was able to rebound with an overtime win against Rice (3-4) on Nov. 29 in the first game of the 47th Annual Cable Car Classic in a high-scoring affair, 97-93. The Broncs were again propelled by Myles, who led the team with 27 points, and Stewart with 19 points and six rebounds.
Sadler expressed how important this game was, especially coming off of a loss.
“We didn’t want to lose two games straight and we were still disappointed at how we played the Albany game,” Sadler said. “We knew what we had to do.”
The frustration returned to the Broncs as they followed the hard-fought affair with another loss to North Dakota State (4-3), 87-70 on Nov. 30. Despite the fact that Myles came through with another big-time effort, 23 points, the defense again proved to be the Achilles heel of the Broncs.
The Broncs will have the chance to bounce back when they visit Monmouth (3-3) on Dec. 5.
Sadler hopes for a better outcome in the first conference game of the season.
“I know it’s early in the season,” Sadler said. “But we are coming to win this game and that’s it. This is the first conference game, we want to start off right.”