Men's College Exhibition Basketball
Rider University 76, University of Scranton 59
LAWRENCEVILLE- Junior Daniel Stewart (Philadelphia, PA/Neumann-Goretti) compiled 16 points and 13 rebounds, and sophomore Junior Fortunat (Montreal, Quebec/Roman Catholic) added 13 points and eight rebounds to lead Rider to an exhibition victory over nationally ranked D-III Scranton Saturday afternoon.
"Danny and Junior did a good job," said Rider head coach Kevin Baggett following his debut. "They brought great energy. In order for us to be good these two have to be in or near double-doubles."
"Junior gives us a big presence inside," said Stewart. "He can score around the basket. It allows me to play a little more on the perimeter, but I'm still going to want to go inside and bang with him."
Stewart averaged 11.1 points and 6.6 rebounds last season and ranked third in the MAAC in field goal percentage. A Mid-Major Freshman All-American two years ago, Stewart has started 61 games at Rider and has compiled career 605 points and 450 career rebounds.
"It feels good to be playing games," said Fortunat, "but like Coach said we need to work on our defense."
Junior Anthony Myles (Dover, DE/Poly-Tech) added 13 points and six rebounds and junior Nurideen Lindsey (Philadelphia, PA/Overbrook) contributed 10 points, five rebounds and five assists for the Broncs.
"We have a lot of young guys, lot of new players, so this is a process," Baggett said.
Holding a 49-45 lead, Rider out-scored Scranton 16-6, eight points by Myles, to take a 65-51 lead with 8:55 remaining.
Trailing 22-19, Rider went on a 17-3 run, six points by freshman Zedric Sadler (Detroit, Mich/Cody) and five by Myles, to take a 36-25 lead with 5:00 left in the first half.
Myles scored 40 points in his first two games last season, including the eight-point loss at Pitt, and averaged over 10 points and 3.5 rebounds per game. A veteran of 63 games, Myles has close to 500 points despite starting just 14 games.
Sadler finished with six points off the bench, as did junior Tommy Pereira (Nottingham, England/Canarias Basketball Academy).
Senior Jonathon Thompson (Orlando, Fla./Jones) added nine points, six rebounds and five assists for Rider.
Scranton out-scored Rider 10-4 over the final 4:38 of the first half to cut the Rider lead to 39-35 at intermission. "We did some good things, more of them in the second half," Baggett said. "We did a better job in the second half but we need to start off the beginning of the game playing like that."
Rider shot 32.5 percent in the first half, 56.5 percent in the second half. Rider allowed 35 points in the first half and just 24 points in the second half.
For the game, Scranton shot 42.1 percent from the field. "I am not happy where we are defensively," Baggett said. "We still need to get better at that end. I would have hoped that we defended better, especially in the first half."
Rider got to the foul line for 31 free throws, but made just 15. "We got to the line but we did not shoot free throws well tonight," Baggett said. "We also shot way too many threes." Rider was nine for 26 from beyond the arc. "I want us to be an inside-out team. That number (of three-point attempts) will drop."
The Royals were led by Tim Lavelle's 19 points and eight rebounds. Michael Barr added 17 points for Scranton.
"Give Scranton credit," Baggett said. "They played well and are a very well-coached team."
Scranton is coming off an Elite Eight appearance in the NCAA Division III Tournament last season and is ranked 18th in the D3hoops.com preseason poll. The Royals were 23-8 last year, winning the Landmark Conference Championship and were ranked 15th in the final D3hoops.com poll.
The 2012-13 season begins with three home games, hosting Robert Morris November 9, Stony Brook November 13 and Monmouth November 17.
At halftime on November 9 Rider will honor the outstanding accomplishments of 2011-12 with the annual Night of Champions.
The Stony Brook game is part of the ESPN Tip Off Marathon and will be televised live on ESPN starting at 6am November 13.