Broncs earn 73-66 road win at Pacific
STOCKTON, CA – Kahlil Thomas (Parkway, FL/Blanche Ely) posted his fourth double-double of the season with 17 points, 14 rebounds, three assists and two blocks as the Rider University men’s basketball team earned a 73-66 road victory at the University of the Pacific in the Gotham Classic Saturday night. With the win, the Broncs improve to 5-3, while the Tigers slip to 3-6.
Jimmie Taylor (Branford, FL/Suwannee) scored 11 of his 14 points in the second half, while Stevie Jordan (Bensalem, PA/Conwell-Egan/API) added all 12 of his points and four of his game-high six assists in the second half after being whistled for two fouls in the game’s first minute. Xavier Lundy (Paulsboro, NJ/Paulsboro) chipped in with nine points and two blocks, while Kealen Washington-Ives (Providence, RI/Classical/Putnam Science) contributed seven points and three assists.
Ray Bowles scored a game-high 21 points and grabbed six rebounds for Pacific. Anthony Townes added a double-double of 11 points and 12 rebounds, while T.J. Wallace had 12 points and six assists. David Taylor also scored in double figures with 11 points.
“(Pacific) never went away. I thought (Pacific Head Coach) Damon (Stoudamire) and his team did a good job fighting and continuing to stay in it when I thought we would pull away and stay away,” said Rider Head Coach Kevin Baggett. “Give our guys credit. As the game went on and those guys started to make shots late, we rallied together. We made some big free throws down the stretch. Stevie Jordan, a freshman, hit two big threes and then the four free throws were clutch for us to finalize the game.”
After the Tigers scored the game’s first four points, the Broncs went on an 11-0 run to establish an early lead that they’d never relinquish. Four different players contributed to the run and six different Broncs scored among Rider’s first 17 points. The Rider lead swelled to as many as 13, 30-17, on a Thomas three at the 6:56 mark. A 12-4 Pacific spurt cut the Broncs’ lead to 34-31 before a Thomas free throw and a Washington-Ives three-point play pushed the Broncs’ lead back to seven, 38-31, at the half.
Thomas led the Broncs with 11 points and five rebounds at the half. Washington-Ives added seven points and three assists, while Lundy and Anthony Durham (Philadelphia, PA/Abington/Putnam Science) contributed six points apiece. The Broncs outshot Pacific, 48.4 percent (15-31) to 27.8 percent (10-36) in the first half.
Taylor came out hot in the second half with eight points in just over the first three minutes of the period. The Rider lead pushed to 16 on a Jordan three and Thomas lay-up at the 11:23 mark. Still leading by 14 with just over eight minutes left to play, Pacific scored 10 straight points to whittle the lead down to four, 57-53, with 5:20 left. Anthony Townes capped the run with a three-point play.
But Rider had the answer each time Pacific got close. Lundy snapped the 10-0 run with a three at the 4:52 mark. After Bowles hit a three to make it a four-point lead, Dimencio Vaughn (New York, NY/Calloway/The Masters School) made a runner with the shot clock running down while being fouled and completed the three-point play. David Taylor knocked down a three to again get to within four, but this time Jordan answered with a three.
Another Taylor three and a Wallace lay-up made it a two-point game. But Jordan made two free throws, the Broncs got a defensive stop and Taylor made 2-for-2 from the line to make it a six-point Rider lead. Townes scored a lay-up with 13 seconds remaining, but it was the last Pacific would score as the Broncs closed out the 73-66 victory.
For the game, the Broncs outshot the Tigers, 44.6 percent (25-56) to 31.4 percent (22-70) from the floor and 45.0 percent (9-20) to 33.3 percent (8-24) from long range. Pacific outrebounded the Broncs, 45-41, and took a 77.8 percent (14-18) to 63.6 percent (14-22) edge from the free-throw line.
“Our guys are getting better defensively,” said Baggett. “They understand that we hang our hat on the defensive end. 65 is that number that we look for. Obviously, they had 66. They shot the three well late in the second half. But we know that defense travels. I thought down the stretch, we got the stops when we needed them.”
The Broncs return to Gotham Classic action Wednesday, when they play host to Kennesaw State. Tipoff from Alumni Gym is slated for 7 p.m.
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