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#pounditMonday, October 18, 2021

Rider coach explains why he pulled players off floor before handshakes

Rider head coach Kevin Baggett says his decision to pull his players off the floor before shaking the hands of the Siena players and coaches Tuesday night had nothing to do with sportsmanship.

After a scuffle broke out near the end of the game, Baggett felt going through the handshake line might lead to another incident.

“I decided to not shake hands, because I didn’t want anything to escalate again between the teams,” Baggett told Jeff Goodman ESPN. “That’s my prerogative — to protect my team whether anyone else thinks it’s good sportsmanship or not.

“I knew what I was going to do at the end of the game. I didn’t want another altercation.”

Following what Baggett felt was a missed call when Siena’s Khalil Richard hit Rider point guard Stevie Jordan near the neck, Siena’s Marquis Wright and Rider’s Anthony Durham exchanged punches and were ejected. Richard, Jordan and both coaches were also assessed technical fouls, so Baggett was leery of the tension in the air.

Siena coach Jimmy Patsos said he believed Baggett had a “pretty good reason” for skipping handshakes and said he respects the decision, though Patsos still pretended to shake hands anyway.

This is the second time this season we have seen a coach pull his players off the floor before handshakes, although the first incident was for a different reason. If Baggett truly thought there was a risk of a confrontation, you can’t blame him.

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