The Rider Broncs, riding high tied for second in the MAAC at 4-2, will be shorthanded for at least the first game in their weekend swing.
Head coach Kevin Baggett said Wednesday that he expects to be without Nurideen Linsdey for Thursday’s MAAC Game of the Week on ESPN3 at St. Peter’s. Lindsey took a charge in Tuesday’s practice and suffered what Baggett called “a mild concussion.”
“I don’t think we’ll have him for tomorrow,” Baggett said.
Baggett said he is leaning towards either junior Tommy Pereira or freshman Zedric Sadler to fill in for Lindsey in the starting lineup.
Lindsey had been progressing, playing off the ball in the offense and consistently driving to the basket, but the results haven’t come yet with just six points in 40 minutes of action the last weekend.
“I think he’s comfortable again being off the ball now and he’s just got to finish some of those layups he’s getting,” Baggett said. “I know he’s been a little dinged up here and there too so I’m sure that has something to do with it but he’s starting to feel more comfortable and being able to get to the basket and also he had some open shots that he just needed to make but he’s trying to figure it out.”
While Rider is without Lindsey, he will join a growing list of injured players in the MAAC. Marist’s Jay Bowie has been out since the end of December with concussion-like symptoms and Siena’s Rob Poole did not travel with the team on their Buffalo trip to Niagara and Canisius this weekend. Manhattan’s George Beamon was also recently ruled out for the season with an ankle injury.
Rider’s three-game win streak is the longest this season after coming off their five-game losing streak. The Broncs do have the co-MAAC Player of the Week going into Thursday’s contest in Daniel Stewart who had two of his best games of the season this past weekend. Stewart scored just over a third of the team’s points, 45 of the Broncs 133 points and made 15 of his 16 free throws to go with 24 rebounds.
“I thought every time we had a chance to get the ball in to Danny something good happened,” Baggett said. “Either make a play, or a basket, or he got to the free throw line and Danny’s been shooting the ball well from the free throw line so any time he touches it, more often than not, something good happens.”
Baggett said Stewart has matured in his game, putting the ball on the floor and working in a 10 to 15 foot jump shot in his arsenal.
Another Bronc who has broken out this season is Anthony Myles. Myles has started every game this season, surpassing his 11 starts last year, and has already made more free throws (59) than he attempted last season (58).
“The one thing that Anthony and I sat down and discussed at the beginning of the year we talked about him being more of a complete player and in order for him to do that he couldn’t just settle for shooting threes,” Baggett said. “He’s become stronger, more aggressive, and getting it to the basket.”
“[He’s] definitely a more complete player. Guys can’t just lock in on them and try and force them to shoot perimeter shots now he’s catching the ball, ripping and getting to the basket so he’s certainly taken the next step in his development which has really helped our team.”
The Broncs 4-2 start in conference play has been led by defense, with the best defensive efficiency in conference play according to kenpom.com as well as the best rebounding percentage on the defensive end.
“On any given night any team can win in this league,” Baggett said. “I know we’re going down to play St. Peter’s and they scare me because I know they’re talented.”
“They’re a team that plays well at home and they’re going to be ready to go, they’re going to play with a sense of urgency. My message to my team is to make sure that we go down and match it. We have to play with a sense of urgency.”
Ryan Restivo covers the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference for Big Apple Buckets. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanarestivo.