Freshmen lead Broncs to comeback victory at Wagner
STATEN ISLAND, NY – Broncs freshmen Dimencio Vaughn (New York, NY/Callaway/The Masters School), Tyere Marshall (Philadelphia, PA/Martin Luther King/Putnam Science) and Stevie Jordan (Bensalem, PA/Conwell-Egan/API) all scored in double figures as the Rider University men’s basketball team came back to defeat Wagner, 70-67, Saturday evening at Spiro Sports Center. With the road victory, the Broncs improve to 3-2, while the Seahawks slip to 2-3.
Vaughn had a game-high 13 points and 11 rebounds in his first-career double-double. Jordan added 12 points and five assists, while Marshall posted six points of his 10 points and all of his three rebounds, all on the offensive glass, in the second half. Four of Marshall’s points came in a pivotal stretch after Rider took its first lead of the game in the final five minutes of regulation. Jimmie Taylor (Branford, FL/Suwannee) added 10 points and six rebounds, going 4-for-4 from the free-throw line in the final 17 seconds.
Mike Aaman led Wagner with a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds to go along with three blocks, while JoJo Cooper and Corey Henson added 12 points and three assists apiece. Michael Carey also had eight points and 10 rebounds.
“I’ve said from the start that I’m not going to call them freshmen because these guys have played a number of basketball games – AAU, high school, elementary. They’re basketball players and those guys showed up today,” said Rider Head Coach Kevin Baggett. “We’re going to need our freshmen to be able to contribute. We need those guys to come off the bench and help and I’ve got confidence in all those guys to be able to do that.”
Wagner scored nine of the first 11 points of the game to jump out to an early lead. The lead fluctuated between four and nine for the majority of the first 20 minutes. Trailing by nine late in the first half, the Broncs got three-pointers from Kealen Washington-Ives (Providence, RI/Classical/Putnam Science) and Xavier Lundy (Paulsboro, NJ/Paulsboro) sandwiched around a Wagner free throw to cut the deficit to 37-33 at the break.
Norville Carey (British Virgin Islands/Red Lion Christian Academy [Southern Mississippi]) led the Broncs with eight points in the first half, while Tayor, Washington-Ives, Marshall and Jordan all added four points apiece. The Broncs shot 58.3 percent (14-24) in the first half, but were hampered by a 9-1 deficit in offensive rebounds that manifested itself into a 13-0 discrepancy in second-chance points.
With two free throws apiece from Jordan and Kahlil Thomas (Parkway, FL/Blanche Ely) and a lay-up from Lundy, the Broncs scored six of the first eight points in the second half to tie the game at 39-39. But Wagner absorbed the initial punch and rebuilt a nine-point lead with just over nine minutes remaining.
The Broncs responded with a 14-2 run to take their first lead of the game. Thomas got things started with a lay-up before Vaughn made a steal and went coast-to-coast for a conventional three-point play. A Vaughn jumper followed by a Jordan lay-up and free throw on separate plays whittled the deficit to one before Jordan sunk a 15-footer at the 5:39 mark to give Rider its first lead of the game, 57-56. Marshall followed with a putback to punctuate the run and give Rider a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
A Taylor jumper pushed the lead to five and the advantage later grew to six on a pair of occasions. Wagner made things interesting in the final 15 seconds, as Cooper hit a three and Devin Liggeons stole the inbounds and scored with seven seconds left. But Taylor knocked down a pair of free throws with five seconds left and Vaughn rejected the Seahawks’ attempt at a 35-foot potential game winner to secure the victory.
“The only thing coach stressed to us was just rebound and box out,” said Vaughn. “We just had to get a box out on the big man (Aaman). That’s what we pretty much did the whole second half and we got our job done.”
For the game, the Broncs outshot the Seahawks, 48.1 percent (26-54) to 39.3 percent (24-61) from the floor and 72.7 percent (16-22) to 63.2 percent (12-19) from the free-throw line. The Broncs also outrebounded Wagner, 39-33 for the game and 28-15 in the second half.
“Let’s just say it’s been a grind. There have been highs and lows. But the one thing about our team is we’re resilient,” said Baggett of the team’s five-game road stretch to open the season. “We’ve been in every game. Even when we were blown out in the first half at Fordham, we found a way to come back in the second half. I just think we’re going to continue to get better and learn from all the things that we’re going through now to be a good team when it’s all said and done.”
The Broncs return to action Thursday, Dec. 1, when they open MAAC play against Fairfield. Opening tip from Alumni Gym is slated for 7 p.m.
“I can’t wait for a home game,” said Jordan. “I cannot wait.”
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