Late run pushes Minutemen past Broncs, 78-67
AMHERST, MA – Stevie Jordan (Bensalem, PA/Conwell-Egan/API) led the Rider University men’s basketball team with 15 points, eight assists and six rebounds, but the Broncs fell at Massachusetts, 78-67, Thursday night in the final game of the Gotham Classic at the Mullins Center. The Minutemen (9-3) outscored the Broncs, 20-3, to close the game. Rider saw its five-game winning streak snapped and slips to 8-4 with the loss.
The eight assists give Jordan six-straight games with six dimes or more. Norville Carey (British Virgin Islands/Red Lion Christian [Southern Miss]) added 12 points and five rebounds, while Xavier Lundy (Paulsboro, NJ/Paulsboro) chipped in with 10 points. Kahlil Thomas (Parkway, FL/Blanche Ely) shook off first-half foul trouble to finish with nine points and nine rebounds, while Kealen Washington-Ives (Providence, RI/Classical/Putnam Science) also added nine points, five rebounds and three assists.
Donte Clark scored a game-high 27 points and added eight rebounds and four assists for UMass. 6-foot-11, 310 lbs. big man Rashaan Holloway also added 16 points, five rebounds and three blocks before fouling out in 13 minutes played.
“I thought (UMass Head Coach Derek Kellogg) did a good job of coaching his team in terms of slowing them down a little bit and moving the ball and moving us around defensively,” said Rider Head Coach Kevin Baggett. “We had some breakdowns in the zone as well and then second-chance opportunities that they were able to get. But those drives that they got for lay-ups and and-ones, we just can’t give those up. We can’t give up easy baskets. We did that in the zone. We just have to go back, get better at it, work on it and I like our chances going forward.”
A back-and-forth first half that featured five lead changes and six ties ended with the Broncs on top, 41-39. The Broncs built an early 11-5 lead on five-straight points, four from Lundy on a tip in and two free throws. UMass scored the next eight points to retake the lead, before six straight from RU made it 19-15.
The Minutemen chipped away until they’d taken a 28-25 lead on a pair of Luwane Pipkins free throws at the 6:31 mark. Consecutive Carey buckets in the paint gave the lead back to Rider and sparked an 8-0 run that pushed the Broncs’ lead to 35-29. The lead swelled to as many as six, before a Clark three with six seconds left made it a 41-39 Rider lead at the break.
Carey led the Broncs with 10 points and five rebounds at the half, while Jordan added eight points, six assists and four rebounds in the first 20 minutes. Lundy also added eight points, while Washington-Ives chipped in with six points, three assists and three rebounds.
The game remained tied or with the Broncs leading until Holloway scored five-straight points, including a three-point play at the 12:24 mark to give the Minutemen a 56-52 cushion. But Jordan responded with seven-straight points to put the Broncs back on top, 61-56, with 9:22 left.
The Minutemen tied the game at 62-62 and, following a Thomas bucket, scored six-straight points to push ahead, 68-64, on an excuse-me, off-glass jumper from C.J. Anderson. The lead grew to seven on a right corner three from Zach Lewis with just over three minutes to play. The Broncs were held without a field goal in the final six minutes as UMass outscored Rider, 20-3 and secured the 78-67 victory.
For the game, the Minutemen outshot the Broncs, 44.3 percent (27-61) to 33.8 percent (22-65) from the floor and 23.8 percent (5-21) to 16.7 percent (3-18) from long range, while outrebounding the Broncs, 42-40. Rider took a slight 71.4 percent (20-28) to 70.4 percent (19-27) edge from the free-throw line.
The Broncs return to action Wednesday, Dec. 28, when they wrap up non-conference play at North Carolina State. Opening tip from PNC Arena is scheduled for 7 p.m.
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