Baggett un­happy with MAAC sched­ul­ing

The Trentonian (Trenton, NJ) - - SPORTS - By Kyle Franko [email protected]­tu­ry­media. com @kj_franko on Twitter

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.

JOHN BLAINE — FOR THE TREN­TO­NIAN

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.

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