Niagara surges past Broncs
NIAGARA UNIVERSITY, NY – Niagara scored 49 second-half points to defeat the Rider University men’s basketball team, 80-67, Saturday afternoon at the Taps Gallagher Center. With the loss, the Broncs fall to 12-10 (5-6 MAAC), while the Purple Eagles improve to 8-15 (5-7 MAAC).
Norville Carey (British Virgin Islands/Red Lion Christian [Southern Miss]) and Kahlil Thomas (Parkway, FL/Blanche Ely) led the Broncs with double-doubles. Carey had a team-high 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Thomas scored 11 points and grabbed a game-high 12 boards. Xavier Lundy (Paulsboro, NJ/Paulsboro) added 12 points, while Stevie Jordan (Bensalem, PA/Conwell-Egan/API) chipped in with 10 points, seven assists and four steals. Anthony Durham (Philadelphia, PA/Abington/Putnam Science) scored all nine of his points in the second half.
Matt Scott led Niagara with 18 points and 11 rebounds, while Kahlil Dukes had 17 points and a game-high eight assists. Chris Barton (11 points) and Kevin Larkin (10 points) also finished in double figures, while Dominic Robb blocked four shots.
“We should not have lost the game,” said Rider Head Coach Kevin Baggett. “When you miss a bunch of lay-ups right at the front of the rim, that’s our own fault. At the end of the day, you have to make free throws and make lay-ups.”
After the Purple Eagles scored the first two points of the game, the Broncs went on a 13-2 run to establish an early 13-4 lead. Four Broncs scored in the spurt, led by Carey with four points. A Carey lay-up at the 12:09 mark made it 20-12 Rider, but the Broncs were held without a field goal for nearly four minutes as Niagara pulled to within one, 22-21, on a Scott lay-up at the 8:09 mark.
Rider would score the next four points to create some breathing room, before a 6-1 spurt on buckets from Thomas, Tyere Marshall (Philadelphia, PA/Martin Luther King/Putnam Science) and Lundy made it 32-25 Rider with 4:35 to play in the period. A three-point play from Carey with 48.3 seconds left in the half again left the Broncs’ lead at 37-30, before Scott made 1-of-2 free throws with 35 seconds left to end the first-half scoring and make it a 37-31 Rider advantage after 20 minutes.
Carey led the Broncs with 12 points and six rebounds at the half, while Thomas had six points and nine boards at the break. Jordan also added eight points, three assists and two steals before departing with two personal fouls. Scott and Larkin led Niagara with six points each.
Carey started the second half like he finished the first, poking away a Niagara pass and converting on the other end. But the Purple Eagles scored the next 10 points to give Niagara its first lead since 2-0. The Broncs retook the lead on a Lundy three and pushed the advantage to five at the free-throw line, with Lundy and Thomas making one each and Jordan draining a pair. But Niagara scored seven of the next nine points to tie the game at 50-50. Thomas and Lundy answered with buckets, but Niagara responded with two points both times. Consecutive Durham jumpers fell, but Prochet answered first with a lay-up and then with 1-of-2 free throws to make it a one-point Rider lead, 58-57. Dukes converted a fast-break lay-up with 4:27 left and Niagara wouldn’t trail again.
Dukes hit a three with 3:12 remaining to push the Niagara lead to four points and lay-ups from Thomas and Lundy whittled the deficit to one. But the Purple Eagles scored the next seven points on four Dukes free throws and a Scott three-pointer to put the game out of reach. The deficit reached its highest mark, the final score, when Larkin reached double figures on an uncontested dunk with less than a second left.
“Chris (Casey) is doing a good job coaching those guys,” said Baggett. “Those guys made shots. Those guys stepped up and made free throws when they needed to make them. Our guys aren’t doing that and my seniors are struggling to help me right now. It’s going to start and end with those guys leading us.”
For the game, the Purple Eagles outshot Rider, 43.9 percent (25-57) to 36.8 percent (25-68) from the floor and 77.4 percent (24-31) to 60.9 percent (14-23) from the free-throw line. Both teams shot 37.5 percent from long range, with Niagara hitting 6-of-16 and Rider connecting on 3-of-8. Niagara shot 48.1 percent (13-27) from the floor in the second half, including 44.4 percent (4-9) from long range, and 82.6 percent (19-23) from the free-throw line. Rider was whistled for 17 fouls in the second half to nine against Niagara.
The Broncs wrap up the MAAC’s Western New York road trip Monday at Canisius. The contest is slated for 7 p.m. on ESPN3 at the Koessler Athletic Center.
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