Rider 70, Iona 69
Courtesy: Rider Sports Information  
Release:  01/12/2009

Ryan Thompson now has 990 career points
Courtesy: Peter G. Borg (Rider University)
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Men’s College Basketball
Rider University 70, Iona College 69

LAWRENCEVILLE—Junior Ryan Thompson (Mt. Laurel, N.J./Lenape) made a foul shot with 3.3 seconds left to give Rider a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference victory over Iona Sunday afternoon. Thompson finished with a game-high 19 points. “The most important thing is that we won,” said Rider head coach Tommy Dempsey. “Today was about finding a way to win. With a few guys sick it was set up for disaster today.”

“I didn’t want to let my team down,” Thompson said of making the winning foul shot.

Iona (7-10, 2-4 MAAC) freshman guard Scott Machado tied the score at 69-69 with a lay-up with 5.4 seconds remaining. Machado finished with a team-high 17 points. “They made some big shots, but we made some big plays at the end.”

Rider (9-6, 4-1 MAAC) freshman Novar Gadson (Philadelphia, Pa./John Bartram) made a lay-up with 25 seconds left to give the Broncs a 69-67 lead. Gadson finished with 10 points and a career-high nine rebounds in 20 minutes off of the bench. “Novar made a great shot-fake and move on the baseline. We rely on Novar to make the plays and it was a mature play by a freshman with the game on the line.”

“I knew I had to make that play to help the team win,” Gadson said. “Before that play Coach asked me if I was ready to help this team win and I knew if I didn’t make it I wasn’t doing my job.”

“It always seems that Novar has a good match-up,” Thompson said of his 6’7” guard teammate. “He gets guarded by big guys who can’t stay with him. I know if I don’t have an open shot I can kick it to him and he’ll make a play.”

Rider senior Harris Mansell (Cheltenham, Pa./Cheltenham) made a three-point field goal with 2:35 left to give the Broncs a 66-61 lead. “Harris hit a bomb that was just ridiculous,” Dempsey said. “It was in a big spot.” Mansell finished with 16 points, making four of five three-pointers.

“I got in position and we needed a shot,” Mansell said. “I was confident.” Mansell has compiled 66 points in his last four games and now has 1,129 career points, 22nd highest ever at Rider.

“Going down the stretch Harris and Ryan took the game over,” Dempsey said. “Ryan started to take it to them and made some pull up jumpers and Harris’ threes fell. Our leaders found a way to get us into the win column.”

Rider began the second half with a 14-4 run, five points by Thompson, to take a 49-34 lead with 13:31 left to play.

Iona went on a 6-0 run, five points by Machado, to cut the lead to 49-40, and it remained a nine-point game. Trailing 57-48, Iona got a pair of three-point field goals from 7’0” Jonathan Huffman to cut the lead to 57-54 with 7:20 remaining. Huffman finished with 15 points, making four three-pointers. “They got on a stretch where they really got hot,” Dempsey said of Iona. “Huffman got hot.”

With the score tied at 28-28, Rider out-scored Iona 7-2 over the final 4:40 of the first half, four points by freshman Jermaine Jackson (Reading, Pa./Reading), to take a 35-30 lead at the half. Jackson finished with five points and five rebounds.

Trailing 13-10, Rider went on a 9-2 run, six points by Mansell, to take a 19-15 lead with 12 minutes left in the first half. Iona trailed 19-15 before out-scoring Rider 10-3, four points by Machado, to take a 25-22 lead with 7:36 left in the first half.

Sophomore Mike Ringgold (Philadelphia, Pa./Roman Catholic) added eight points and nine rebounds for the Broncs and sophomore Justin Robinson (London, England/Blair Academy) added nine points

Coming in Iona had won its last two games after losing to Rider by 14 points on January 1.

The Broncs are now 6-1 in Alumni Gym this season and have now won 17 of the last 20 games in the Broncs’ Zoo.

A MAAC Player of the Year candidate, Thompson leads the MAAC in scoring and minutes played and is fourth in steals, seventh in field goal percentage, eighth in assists and 10th in rebounding. Thompson now has 990 career points.

Rider and Iona have now met 42 times in the series that began in 1949-50 with Rider winning 21, including the last five and six of the last seven.

Rider is now 7-1 in afternoon games this year with six more afternoon games on the schedule.

The Broncs will now make their annual trip to Western New York, playing Canisius Thursday and Niagara Saturday afternoon to start a stretch of four games on the road. “I mentioned to the guys that this was our last home game until January 30 so it was very important that we won,” Dempsey said.

-ru-


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