Rider 90, Siena 88
Courtesy: Rider Sports Information  
Release:  02/07/2009

Ryan Thompson scores with 3.4 seconds left for the...
Courtesy: Hugh Tsung (Rider University)
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  • Men’s College Basketball
    Rider University 90, Siena College 88

    LAWRENCEVILLE—Junior Ryan Thompson (Mt. Laurel, N.J./Lenape) scored a driving layup with 3.4 seconds left to give Rider a come-from-behind Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference victory over Siena Saturday afternoon. “I thought it was just a great college basketball game,” said Rider head coach Tommy Dempsey. “Two very talented teams playing very well. We expected to play them toe-to-toe and we did.”

    “When I saw how much time was left I kind of knew I was going to try to take it and it happened to go in,” Thompson said. “I had Harris (Mansell) on my wing so when I drove, if his man helped I could throw it out to him. Harris’ man doesn’t usually help because they know Harris can hit that shot, so when he didn’t help it was an open lane.”

    Thompson finished with 13 points, five rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocked shots. Thompson is a MAAC Player of the Year candidate who is second in the MAAC in scoring, second in minutes played, third in three-point field goals percentage, fourth in steals, fifth in defensive rebounds, sixth in free throw percentage, eight in assists and 10th in rebounding.

    “We had a lot of balanced scoring tonight,” Thompson said of the five Broncs in double figures. “Some games we need me to score a lot, some games like this we don’t.”

    “We were sharing the ball well today,” Dempsey said. “21 assists is a season high for us.”

    The victory ended Siena’s eight-game winning streak. The game between first-place Siena (18-6, 12-1 MAAC) and third place Rider (13-9, 8-4 MAAC) was a rematch of the 2008 MAAC Championship Game. “Some will call this an upset, and rightfully so when you knock off a team that is undefeated in the league,” Dempsey said, “but everybody in our locker room felt we could compete with this team, and we did that today.”

    Siena led 73-64 before Rider out-scored the Saints 10-0, three points by freshman Novar Gadson (Philadelphia, Pa./John Bartram), to take a 74-73 lead with 5:11 left to play, the 11th and final lead change of the game. Gadson finished with 17 points and four assists. “Novar is very tough for them to match up with,” Dempsey said. “He was pretty much able to get into the lane at will.”

    Gadson had 14 of his 17 points in the second half. “We started the second off pretty slow so I knew I had to provide some energy off the bench,” Gadson said.

    Gadson scored to give Rider an 88-86 lead before Saint Ryan Rossiter’s tip-in with 37 seconds left tied the score at 88-88, the 11th and final tie of the game. Rossiter finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds.

    “I would think that Gadson would be the Rookie of the Year in the MAAC,” said Siena head coach Fran McCaffery. “He’s a handful. He’s big and strong, he can drive and he’s also crafty.”

    Rider trailed by 13 points, 67-54 midway through the second half before going on a 10-2 run, six points by sophomore Justin Robinson (London, England/Blair Academy), to cut the lead to 69-64 with 8:05 left to play. Robinson finished with a career-high 25 points, making five of six three-point field goals. “I’ve tried to tell people for some time now that Justin is a very good jump shooter,” Dempsey said. “I think he’s getting more comfortable playing off the ball.”

    “My teammates were able to find me in some open spots today,” Robinson said.

    “Robinson played a great game,” McCaffery said.

    There was a study done in college basketball several years ago that stated whoever wins the first five minutes of the second half wins the game 78 percent of the time. Trailing 44-40 at half time, Siena out-score Rider 20-4 to take a 60-48 lead with 12:45 left to play. “We didn’t have a good flow early in the second half,’ Dempsey said. “We missed some shots that we normally make.”

    Rider shot 33 of 60 from the field (.550), including 11 of 19 three-pointers (.579). “When you are on the road you can’t let the home team shoot 55 percent and expect to win,” McCaffery said. “Give Rider credit, they made their shots. They have proven to be a very good team.”

    Trailing 33-31, Rider went on an 8-0 run as four different players scored, to take a 39-33 lead, and Rider led 44-40 at the half.

    Siena broke out to a 7-3 lead before Rider out-scored the Saints 10-0, six points by senior Harris Mansell (Cheltenham, Pa./Cheltenham), to take a 13-7 lead. Mansell finished with 13 points and eight rebounds. Rider sophomore Mike Ringgold (Philadelphia, Pa./Roman Catholic) added 12 points and six rebounds.

    Senior guard Kenny Hasbrouck scored a game-high 29 points to lead five Saints in double figure scoring. Junior forward Alex Franklin added 16 points. “Kenny was unbelievable and Franklin played well,” Dempsey said. “In spite of that we were able to win the game. I think that’s a good sign that we are able to compete with them.”

    The Saints defeated Rider in the 2008 MAAC Title Game and went on to upset Vanderbilt by 21 points in the NCAA Tournament. Siena had won the last three meetings with Rider and seven of the last nine.

    Siena won the last regular season meeting earlier this year, 91-81 on January 9 in Albany and Siena won 80-77 last year here in Lawrenceville. Rider won in Albany last season 89-75 after building a 26-point lead. Before that the Broncs defeated Siena by six points at the Sovereign Bank Arena in Trenton January 27, 2007.

    Rider and Siena have met 30 times since the series began in 1976-77, with Rider winning 10, and the teams have split the last six meetings 3-3.

    Rider is now 10-2 in afternoon games this season.

    Rider travels to Poughkeepsie, NY Monday to take on the Red Foxes of Marist.

    -ru-


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