Broncs outlast Dragons, 90-82
LAWRENCEVILLE, NJ – Freshman guard Stevie Jordan (Bensalem, PA/Conwell-Egan/API) scored 20 of his season-high 26 points in the second half and added six assists as the Rider University men’s basketball team outlasted Drexel, 90-82, Friday night at Alumni Gym. With the win, the Broncs’ fourth straight, Rider improves to 7-3. Drexel dips to 4-6 with the loss.
All five starters finished in double-figures for the Broncs. Jordan did his damage on 10-of-14 shooting and 5-for-5 from the free-throw line. He also made two steals. Jimmie Taylor (Branford, FL/Suwannee) added 20 points, his third 20-point game in the last five. He also grabbed eight rebounds and blocked two shots. Norville Carey (British Virgin Islands/Red Lion Christian [Southern Miss]) narrowly missed a double-double with 14 points, nine rebounds and two blocks, while Kahlil Thomas (Parkway, FL/Blanche Ely) completed his fifth double-double of the year with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Xavier Lundy (Paulsboro, NJ/Paulsboro) rounded out the double-figures scorers with 11 points, a team-high three steals and two blocks.
Rodney Williams led Drexel with 23 points, while Kurk Lee added 19 points, six rebounds and four assists. Miles Overton scored 15 points off the bench, while Sammy Mojica had a strong all-around game with 10 points, seven rebounds and four steals. Austin Williams grabbed a team-high nine rebounds.
“What a great game by our guys,” said Rider Head Coach Kevin Baggett. “I thought Drexel really competed. I know this is their first year for their head coach, but I thought those guys competed really well and brought a tough challenge to us. But our guys were up to the challenge tonight. This is probably the best start-to-finish by us. These guys finished the game the right way. They made plays when we needed to make them and made free throws when we needed to make them.”
The Dragons scored 10 of the first 12 points to open the game. The Broncs gradually whittled the lead until an 11-3 spurt capped by Taylor’s pull-up in the lane gave Rider its first lead of the game, 25-23, at the 7:30 mark. Drexel immediately countered with a 9-0 run to retake a 32-25 lead. Lee capped the run with a transition lay-up at the 5:54 mark. The Dragons’ lead fluctuated between three and seven the rest of the period, before Taylor’s third three at the halftime buzzer made it 45-41.
Taylor led all scorers with 15 points to go along with five rebounds at the half. Carey also added eight points. Overton led Drexel with 11 points off the bench in the first half, while Williams added 10 points on 5-of-10 shooting. Lee chipped in with nine points. Rider took a 12-0 advantage in fast-break points, while Drexel’s bench outscored Rider’s, 14-4.
The Broncs scored 18 of the first 24 points to start the second half and take a 59-51 lead. Carey scored five in the spurt, while Jordan scored seven points, including the last five, and added two assists and a steal.
“I think it starts with Stevie. He leads the team and he’s not a freshman – he’s just a player,” said Baggett. “He makes things happen. When we need big shots, he’s not afraid to take them.”
The Broncs’ lead extended to 12 on a Jordan putback at the 7:53 mark, before Drexel stormed back with a 13-2 run to close to within 1, 76-75, on a three-point play from Williams. Following Taylor’s fourth three-pointer to push Rider’s lead to 79-75, two free throws and a floater from Lee tied the game at 79-79 with 2:20 to play. But with the shot clock running down on Rider’s next possession, Jordan received a pass around the perimeter from Taylor at the left wing and stepped confidently into a three-pointer to give the Broncs an 82-79 lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.
“I knew we needed a bucket because we hadn’t won a couple trips,” said Jordan. “Jimmie made a great pass, I stepped right into it, had some confidence and knocked it down.”
Taylor got inside for a contested lay-up that wouldn’t fall on the Broncs’ next possession, but Thomas skied for a putback slam. Carey made a steal 10 seconds later and passed ahead to Jordan for a wide-open lay-up and a seven-point lead, putting the game away.
“All of our guys – they’re playing well and they’re playing together as a team,” said Baggett.
For the game, the Broncs outshot the Dragons, 48.5 percent (33-68) to 43.4 percent (33-76) from the floor and 69.2 percent (18-26) to 64.3 percent (9-14) from the free-throw line. Rider also took a 44-40 edge on the glass and a 16-5 advantage in fast-break points. Drexel edged the Broncs from long range, 38.9 percent (7-18) to 31.6 percent (6-19).
The Broncs return to action Sunday, when they travel to Greensboro, N.C., to take on North Carolina A&T. Tipoff of the Gotham Classic contest is slated for 1 p.m. at Corbett Sports Center.
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