Baggett unhappy with MAAC scheduling
LAWRENCEVILLE >> Maybe it’s the frustration of a four-game losing streak speaking, but Rider coach Kevin Baggett ripped into the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference’s scheduling after his team lost to Siena, 59-57, at Alumni Gymnasium on Sunday afternoon.
The Broncs are in the midst of a stretch where they are playing eight games in 18 days. They are 1-4 thus far with another game on tap Tuesday at Quinnipiac and then a Friday-Sunday against Monmouth and Saint Peter’s.
A question about the team’s poor 3-point shooting — Rider went 1-for-16 on Sunday and is connecting at just a 27.2 percent clip in 12 league games — set the seventh-year into a rebuke of the league’s scheduling.
“We play eight games in 18 days, we’re playing every other day,” Baggett said. “Tell me when we can work on it. Eight games in 18 days. No other team in the league will have done that. Eight games in 18 days, how much legs do you think you’re going to have? Don’t ask me. Ask Rich Ensor and them. That’s all I’ll say on it. Eight games in 18 days. We’re going to get on the bus again (Monday) and play the next day. We’re going to play Friday-Sunday. Eight games in 18 days and we’re supposed to be one of the preseason favorites.”
Baggett said there’s not much he can do to combat the schedule.
“Not practice,” he said. “We just do walkthroughs. When are we practicing? When are you shooting? We shot free throws (on Saturday). What can I do with them? I don’t have all the answers. We’re trying to win, everybody wants to win. Ask the league … eight games in 18 days. That’s tough. What other league does that?”
Rider has already had one brutal stretch of schedule — a six-game, 9,545-mile trek across three time zones between Dec. 17-Jan. 3.
“There are games we could have won, should have won,” Baggett said. “Make some layups, make some free throws and maybe some of this doesn’t magnify. We can lean on that (earlier trip), but at the end of the day, we just need to win one.” the bench.
“He came from playing nothing and he had a big shot and I wish it went down for him,” Baggett said. “He gave us a lift. Guys are going to keep fighting, we’re going to keep battling. I’m not making excuses for the schedule, but what can I do when we don’t have time to work on any of this stuff.”
Gilbert finished with six points, three rebounds and three steals. He had a good look at a 3-pointer with 47 seconds remaining to give the Broncs the lead, but the shot rattled in and out. slowest in the nation behind Virigina) and with terrific point guard play from freshman Jalen Pickett. The Saints only turn the ball over 10.3 times per game, which is best in the MAAC and ranks 10th nationally.
“(Pickett’s) a good point guard,” Baggett said. “He sees the floor really well. (Kadeem) Smithen is another one, but outside of that, they count on (Pickett) a great deal. Look how many assists he gets, everything is run through him. He’s very good.”
A Fein 25
Rider athletic director Don Harnum and associated athletic director Karin Torchia presented broadcaster Daryl Fein with a plaque commemorating his 25th year as the voice of Rider basketball.
Rider coach Kevin Baggett reacts on the sideline during a MAAC game against Siena on Sunday. The Broncs lost, 59-57, to drop their fourth straight game.