Men’s College Basketball
Rider University 97, Rice University 93 (OT)
SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA— Rice-A-Roni may be the San Francisco treat, but in nearby Santa Clara it was a real treat for the Rider Broncs to beat the Rice Owls.
“It was a treat for the fans but not so much for me,” Rider head coach Kevin Baggett said of the thrilling, overtime contest. “I’m excited for our guys. I’m really happy we got this one so we get to play for a championship this early in the season.”
Rider senior Anthony Myles (Dover, DE/Poly-Tech) scored a career-high 27 points, including the 1,000th of his career, to lead Rider to an overtime victory in the first round of the Cable Car Classic, hosted by Santa Clara University. “Anthony played really well and got his 1000th point,” Baggett said. “He did a great job leading our team and making free throws,”
Myles was 10 of 13 from the foul line. His two foul shots with 5:12 left in regulation gave Rider an 80-68 lead and gave Myles 1,001 career points. “Anthony played a solid game of defense as well.”
Senior Daniel Stewart (Philadelphia, PA/Neumann-Goretti) made a lay-up with 20 seconds left in the second half to tie the score at 84-84, the eighth tie of the game, and blocked a Rice lay-up with 2 seconds left, sending the game into overtime.
“Late in the game Daniel came over to help and got a big block and made some big free throws down the stretch,” Baggett said. Stewart was six for seven from the foul line. “He played like a senior and helped lead us to this win.”
In overtime, Stewart blocked another shot with 14.5 seconds left to preserve a 95-93 lead, and made two foul shots for the final score. Stewart finished with 19 points, six in overtime, and six rebounds in just 23 minutes of action due to foul trouble. “Danny had a couple big blocks and made some big free throws to seal the deal,” Baggett said.
Rider (2-3) scored the first four points of overtime, two from Stewart and two from sophomore Khalil Alford (Raleigh, NC/Fishburne Military), and never trailed again. Alford finished with 10 points in 15 minutes off the bench.
The game saw 12 lead changes and eight ties.
Senior Tommy Pereira (Nottingham, England/Canarias Basketball Academy) made a three-point field goal with 1:01 left in overtime to give Rider a 95-90 lead. Pereira finished with nine points, making three three-pointers. “We came out of a time out and drew a play up for Tommy and he made me look like a good coach,” Baggett said, “hitting a big three. Another senior for us who did a good job tonight.”
Myles became the 34th member of the Rider 1,000 point club. Myles came into the game needing 24 points for 1,000 and now has 1,003.
Trailing 76-66, Rice (2-4) out-scored Rider 14-4, 10 coming from Austin Ramljak, to tie the score at 80-80 with 2:45 left to play in the second half. Ramljak finished with 25 points on seven three-pointers. “Our guys showed some resiliency tonight,” Baggett said.
Holding a 68-66 lead, Rider scored eight straight points to take a 76-66 lead with 6:00 left to play in regulation.
Rice made 18 three-point field goals, while the Broncs made 12 threes. “Rice is a good team from Conference USA and they made a lot of big shots,” Baggett said. “That’s how they were able to stay in the game, making all of those threes.”
Trailing 53-45, Rider went on a 15-2 run, five each by Myles and freshman Kahlil Thomas (Parkway, Fla./Blanche Ely), to take a 60-55 lead with 11:47 remaining. Thomas finished with nine points and three rebounds in 21 minutes off the bench.
Rider sophomore Zedric Sadler (Detroit, Mich/Cody), who missed all of preseason and the first game of the year with a knee injury, finished with 11 points, seven rebounds, four assists and a pair of blocks.. “Zed is always solid,” Baggett said. “Glad to have him back. We still need to get him healthy but he calms our team down.”
Holding a 42-40 lead, Rice out-scored Rider 11-5, six points by Seth Gearhart, to take a 53-45 lead with 16:00 left to play. Gearhart finished with 20 points, making six three-pointers.
Rice out-scored Rider 13-1 over the final 2:50 of the first half, six points by Keith Washington and a three-pointer at the buzzer by Gearhart, to take a 36-35 lead at intermission. Washington finished with 10 points off the bench.
Holding a 22-19 lead, Rider went on a 12-4 run, six points by Myles, to take a 34-23 lead with 3:06 left in the first half.
Trailing 14-12, Rider made three consecutive three-pointers and a foul shot to take a 22-14 lead with 7:05 left in the first half.
The first 10 minutes of the tight game saw four lead changes and three ties.
Rider will now play North Dakota State University in the championship game Saturday at 11:15 pm Eastern time. NDSU defeated host Santa Clara 91-85 Friday.
Last year Rider beat Jacksonville and Milwaukee to win the Rick Majerus Cup in the Hoops for Hope Classic, held in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
This year the Broncs are playing for the Cable Car Classic Championship, a treat anywhere.