By Jake Tiger
PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Rider men’s basketball was dealt one of its most lopsided defeats in years on Nov. 22 with a crushing, 76-46 loss to Rutgers.
It was the Broncs worst offensive performance since Dec. 31, 2019, when they lost 65-37 to Wisconsin.
“I’m disappointed; we all are,” said Head Coach Kevin Baggett. “We schedule to try and win every game… this was another game on the schedule that we wanted to win. Obviously, we didn’t play nearly well enough. We’re not tough enough. You got to be tougher.”
A 17-point performance from senior guard Dwight Murray Jr. was the sole positive for Rider, as almost everyone else on the team were quiet at best. Excluding Murray, the rest of the Broncs’ starting lineup combined for a mere 11 points.
“I’d hoped that we would have gotten the win,” said Murray. “You know, 17 points and 30 points ain’t nothing unless we get a win. I’d be happy to just have 10 points and my other teammates have 20 if we win the game.”
However, even Murray, who had by far the best game for Rider, struggled to knock down shots. The senior went 5-of-13 from the field, with the rest of the team only managing 10-of-47 (21.2%) efficiency.
“We had no flow,” said Baggett. “We didn’t do anything well enough today, so therefore, it allowed [Rutgers] to defend us pretty easily.”
Senior guard Allen Powell often fell victim to the Scarlet Knights’ airtight defense, and ended up having one of his worst outings as a Broncs. In 31 minutes, Powell could only muster two points on 1-of-9 shooting from the field, and 0-of-5 from deep.
Since dropping 15 points against Providence in the Broncs’ regular season opener, Powell’s shooting has progressively dropped off in each game, and is now shooting just 20.7% from three through the first five games.
“We’re struggling a little bit,” said Baggett. “We had looks, we’ve just got to make them. You’ve got to believe it when you shoot it. Right now, we’re just going through a little struggle.”
In the end, the Broncs only made an abysmal 2-of-19 three-point attempts in what was certainly one of the worst shooting performances in program history.
“We’re not shooting well at all right now,” said Murray. “We’ve been through this last year, so we know what to do. Everybody’s got to get in the gym. … Hopefully, next week we’ll start to get our groove back.”
The Broncs will work to refine their jumpers before their upcoming home game against the 0-5 Monmouth Hawks, a former Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) rival and the team that eliminated them from the 2022 MAAC Tournament in the semifinal round. The rematch on Nov. 30 begins at 8:00 p.m.