Rider 90, Quinnipiac 78
Men’s College Basketball
Rider University 90, Quinnipiac University 78
LAWRENCEVILLE, NJ— Coming of age. A young person’s transition from childhood to adulthood. Or a freshman point guard becoming comfortable with his surroundings.
Rider freshman Jimmie Taylor III (Branford, Fla./Suwannee) scored a career-high 21 points, making four of six three-point shots, and grabbed seven rebounds to lead Rider to a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference victory over Quinnipiac Sunday afternoon.
“We’re watching Jimmie Taylor grow up in front of our eyes,” said Rider head coach Kevin Baggett. “Jimmie is very important to what we have to get done and he’s starting to come along offensively and defensively and understanding exactly what we need out of him.”
Rider senior Daniel Stewart (Philadelphia, PA/Neumann-Goretti) compiled 25 points and seven rebounds and senior Anthony Myles (Dover, DE/Poly-Tech) added 20 points. The two seniors combined for 49 points last game.
“Danny and Anthony are doing a great job leading us,” Baggett said. “I’m very happy for our guys. We played a complete game today. Quinnipiac is a tough opponent.”
“It’s fun watching Jimmie play,” Stewart said.
“These guys are talking about his offense but I’m talking about his defense,” Baggett said of his freshman point guard.
“Now that we are eight games in I’m getting a better feel of what is being asked of me,” said JT3. “I admit I was a little nervous the first few games but now I can just concentrate on playing ball.”
The victory was the second in a row for the Broncs (4-4, 2-0 MAAC) and third in their last four games. “That signifies that we are getting better,” Baggett said, “but we still have a long way to go.”
Holding a 77-73 lead with 2:35 remaining, Rider scored the next nine points, four by Taylor and three by Stewart, to take an 86-73 lead with 32 seconds left to play.
Trailing 75-65, Quinnipiac (5-3, 1-1 MAAC) out-scored Rider 8-2, four points by James Ford, to cut the lead to 77-73 with 2:35 left to play. Ford finished with 10 points in 18 minutes off the bench.
The Broncs out-scored QU 10-3 to start the second half, five points by Taylor, to take a 47-35 lead with 18:10 remaining.
With the score tied at 24-24, Rider out-scored Quinnipiac 13-8 over the final 6:20 of the first half, six points by Stewart, to take a 37-32 lead at intermission.
“It feels great to be 2-0 in the league,” said Stewart, who compiled 21 points and seven rebounds in his last game, a MAAC win at Monmouth. “We had to get these two, but most importantly, we needed to get a win at home.”
Rider has won 160 of its last 223 home games (.720), but is just 1-1 at home this year. “Winning at home will help us going forward,” Stewart said. “We have to keep getting better.”
Rider went on a 9-1 run, three points by sophomore Zedric Sadler (Detroit, Mich/Cody), to take its first lead, 20-18, with 8:34 left in the first half. Sadler finished with nine points, three rebounds and three assists.
Quinnipiac jumped out to an 11-4 lead, eight points by senior forward Ike Azotam. Azotam, who is averaging 14.4 points and 11.3 rebounds per game, finished with 24 points and seven rebounds.
One of the top rebounding teams in the nation, QU out-rebounded Rider 44-41. “Quinnipiac can really crash the boards,” Baggett said.
“It’s about mental and physical toughness,” Stewart said of rebounding. Stewart now has 733 career rebounds, one shy of eighth most ever at Rider.
It was the 40th straight game the Bobcats have out-rebounded their opponent. The Bobcats entered the game with a +14.9 rebound margin. “We knew all five guys had to go to the defensive glass,” Baggett said, “and offensively we needed four to crash the boards. Being within three rebounds of them helped us win this game.”
The Broncs and Bobcats have met just twice before, in 1970-71 (79-75 Rider win) and in 2003-04 (89-70 Rider win). The last meeting was in the first round of the Hawaii Hilo Tournament.
After exams the Broncs host Wagner December 14 at 3pm, following the Rider women’s 1pm home game against Binghamton.
As for Taylor, who witnessed his first snow on Sunday, he will be that much older and wiser.