The Campaign

Broncs surge past Red Foxes, 73-62

Courtesy: Rider Sports Information
         
Release: January 06, 2017
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Courtesy: Steve McLaughlin
POUGHKEEPSIE, NYKahlil Thomas (Parkway, FL/Blanche Ely) posted his MAAC-leading seventh double-double with a game-high 19 points and 12 rebounds as the Rider University men’s basketball team surged past Marist, 73-62, Friday night at McCann Arena. With the win, the Broncs (10-5, 3-1 MAAC) improve to 7-4 on the road this year. The seven road wins stand alone as the most in the nation. Marist falls to 5-11 (2-3 MAAC).

Thomas hit 7-of-9 field-goal attempts and also led the Broncs with three steals. Stevie Jordan (Bensalem, PA/Conwell-Egan/API) added 17 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals, while Xavier Lundy (Paulsboro, NJ/Paulsboro) contributed 15 points and eight rebounds. Jimmie Taylor (Branford, FL/Suwannee) scored seven of his nine points in the final four minutes of regulation to help secure the victory.

“I thought our seniors did a good job,” said Rider Head Coach Kevin Baggett. “It wasn’t one of our better performances. But Jimmie goes back in, hits a big three, a big putback lay-up, big forced turnover in the press. Lundy has been out sick the last couple of days and responded well coming back. Kahlil Thomas is just a horse down there. And Stevie did a good job again of getting the ball to those guys in the right places.”

Isaiah Lamb led Marist with 14 points off the bench, while Khallid Hart also finished in double figures with 10. However, just three of those 10 points came in the second half and Hart was held scoreless by Taylor after he reentered the game with just under nine minutes to play following foul trouble. Brian Parker also added five points and nine rebounds, but turned the ball over seven times. 

“It speaks about our experience. It speaks about our seniors. It speaks about guys understanding the importance of being able to win on the road,” said Baggett on his team’s NCAA Division I leading seven road wins. “That MAAC Tournament is not at Rider. So, we’re going to have to go up to Albany and take our chances there. But understanding that we can win on the road.”

Neither team could create separation in the first half, with neither team leading by more than three points. The first half featured 12 lead changes and seven ties with the Broncs emerging with a 34-32 lead at the break. 

“It was a grind. Marist played tough,” said Taylor. “They came out with a lot of energy, more energy than we did. And then we had to step it up down the stretch. It was a grind from start-to-finish, but we had to grind and find a way.”   

The Broncs scored seven of the first 10 points of the second half, including five from Lundy, to take a 41-35 lead just over two minutes into the half. But Marist tied the game with six-straight points and retook the lead on a pair of Richie Mitchell free throws at the 13:07 mark. The Marist lead got to two on 1-of-2 David Knudsen free throws for Marist at the 8:57 mark, before six points from Jordan in an 8-0 run gave Rider a 57-51 advantage with 6:30 left. 

The lead increased to seven at the free throw line and reached 10 on a Taylor three. Taylor’s putback at the 1:48 mark pushed the lead to 11, while Jordan’s free throw made it 68-56 Rider lead. The Red Foxes would draw no closer than to within nine the rest of the way. 

“I told coach that I was going to get better on defense. Every year is a progression and now it’s my senior year and now it’s my time to step up and be the guy who can lock guys up at the end of the games or throughout the games,” said Taylor of his defense on Hart. “That’s a role that I want to take on my shoulders and I’m embracing it.”

For the game, the Broncs outshot the Red Foxes, 47.3 percent (26-55) to 41.4 percent (24-58) from the floor, 33.3 percent (5-15) to 24.0 percent (6-25) from long range and 66.7 percent (16-24) to 61.5 percent (8-13) from the free-throw line. The Broncs also enjoyed a 39-33 advantage on the glass and a 15-6 edge in points off turnovers, leading to an 11-0 cushion in fast-break points. 

The Broncs return to action on Sunday, when they play host to Niagara. Tipoff from Alumni Gymnasium is slated for 2 p.m.
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The Campaign