Rider’s losing streak extends to three in Siena loss

By Matt LoPuzzo

A visibly frustrated Rider men’s basketball team fell behind early and had to play catch up the entire game eventually falling to Siena 68-63 on the road. 

The defeat extended Rider’s losing streak to three games, as the Broncs have gone from 3-0 in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) play to 3-3 in a snap of a finger.

Rider had a good boost of energy with senior guard Dwight Murray Jr. returning to the lineup and his presence was felt all around with 20 points in his return. 

Both teams didn’t come out of the gates hot with the score being 7-2 in favor of Siena heading into an early timeout call by Head Coach Kevin Baggett who was enraged with how his team was playing. The facial expressions and amplified hand gestures just showed the frustrations.

When asked if the confidence was dented, Baggett responded with,
“Yeah, everybody’s confidence, coaches confidence, players confidence. Yeah, we all got to get on top and everything’s about confidence.” 

Murray picked up his second foul early and had to head to the bench, but the Broncs saw some much needed flashes from Wake Forest junior transfer Tariq Ingraham who inserted Siena with a mean dose of bully ball to jump start the Broncs offense.

Allen Powell hit the Broncs first three-pointer right before the half with the Broncs keeping it close, heading into halftime 24-21. But shooting woes haunted the Broncs, shooting 27% from deep which is nearly tied for last in the MAAC.

“It’s something that’s been hurting us…So we really got to put an emphasis on blocking out and rebounding and loose balls,” Baggett said.  

Coming out of the half the Broncs were on a tear, shooting 4-for-5 from the field, gaining their first lead of the game courtesy of seven points from Murray. During the course of the game Murray hit his 1,000 point mark as a Bronc and his 1,500 point mark as a collegiate player.

Siena snatched back the lead that they would hold onto with the help of graduate student forward Jackson Stormo, who feasted with 24 points and two blocks on 9-of-13 shooting. 

The Broncs were making a late effort before senior forward Mervin James picked up his fourth foul. The senior forward has been putting up a strong season, averaging 12.8 PPG along with 6.5 REB. James posted seven points and 15 rebounds in the Broncs efforts against Siena.

Junior forward Tariq Ingraham dumped in 12 points with two of those baskets coming in the final stretch that would cut Siena’s lead to 4 with just under two minutes.

It was a little too late for the Broncs, as they would even get the lead down from 10 to three, but it would ultimately end in defeat. Rider’s latest close loss comes with the ever so dangerous Iona on Jan. 15 and a scorching Niagara team on the 20th upcoming.

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