PISCATAWAY — The short trip north to Rutgers was always going to be a tough one for Rider men’s basketball.

It was almost impossible to do this two days after returning from Ireland.

The length and athleticism of the Broncs was a mismatch against the Big Ten school, which even with two starters, topped them, 76-46, on Tuesday night here at Jersey Mike’s Arena.

Rider (1-4) lost its third straight and has yet to beat a Division I opponent. It’s a less-than-ideal start for a team that touted its maturity and confidence before the season began.

“I am disappointed. We all are,” coach Kevin Baggett said. “At the end of the day, we’re going to do it. We’ve got too many guys in the locker room that are going to work and help us turn this thing around.”

No one but Dwight Murray Jr. shot the ball well Tuesday night — the Broncs shot 25 percent from the field (15-60) and 10.5 percent from 3s (2-19) — and a second half in which they excelled , 41-23, was even uglier than the stats made it look.

Allen Powell and Mervyn James combined to take 3-23. Powell is just 6-of-29 from 3 on the year and two of his last 21. James is shooting 32.6% (17-for-52) through five games.

“If I had known,” said Baggett, “I would have gone to play the lottery.”

“We had views,” the coach said. “We need to make them. You have to believe in them when you shoot. We are going through a bit of a struggle right now.”

Cliff Amarui scored a game-high 20 points and Cam Spencer added 19 for the Scarlet Knights (4-1), who have won 16 of 17 all-time against the Broncs.

Rutgers used his size and athleticism to trouble the Raiders with the ball and forced him into 17 turnovers that led to 26 points. With a 12-point lead at halftime, the Scarlet Knights turned the ball over to Amarua, a 6-foot-11, 240-pound dunk machine, who promptly drew three consecutive fouls on each of the Bronx’s big men to score the hosts’ first seven points of the second half .

“They got Cliff, but we have to stop their fouls,” said Murray, who was the only Rider player in double figures with 17 points. “I don’t believe some of those calls were great, but they used them, and if you take away some of those free throws, we’re in the game by about five points.”

Foul-free defense has been an issue since Rider sacked Providence 43 times in the season opener. It’s so hard to win when you not only shoot poorly, but also can’t keep your opponent off the line.

“It’s a problem,” Baggett said. “It’s just not what we’re asking them to do. You won’t foul the guy, you have to move your feet. We are not ready, my great people are trying hard to be ready. Guys drive down and throw the ball and they’re a second late on everything and we end up getting fouled. We have to improve it.”

While there was no excuse for tired legs for a troubling second half, the Thanksgiving break comes at just the right time for a team in need of regrouping.

“Our coach planned it because he knew we were going to be a great team, but we have to act like a great team,” Murray said. “That’s why we have to come back next week and train hard. It starts with me as a leader. At the end of the day, I have to get my team together.”

Former MAAC rival Monmouth awaits on the 30th.

A racer desperately needs a win.

“I didn’t like any of it,” Baggett said. “It’s just being honest. I didn’t like anything we did. We didn’t compete enough and compete the way we should compete.”

Notes: Rider started Ajiri Ogemun-Johnson and Tyrell Bladen together for the first time and moved James to three. “It’s hard for us to find consistent threes, it’s hard to find a lot of things right now. “Looking at a lot of things that can help us,” Baggett said. … Alain Betran felt fine and did not start. He did not score for the second game in a row and played only three minutes. … Rutgers freshman Derek Simpson certainly knows Rider basketball. His father, Ron, is a Hall of Famer at Rider and ranks seventh on the program’s scoring list with 1,735 points. Simpson also played at Lenape High, the same school where the Thompson brothers graduated.

Source link