Stags Edge Broncs, 69-67
FAIRFIELD, CT – Two late Xavier Lundy (Paulsboro, NJ/Paulsboro) three-pointers gave the Broncs a six-point lead, but Fairfield ended the game on an 8-0 run to take a 69-67 victory over the Rider University men’s basketball team Monday night at George Bisacca Court at Alumni Hall. Tyler Nelson hit an off-balanced jumper from the right elbow extended for what proved to be the game-winning shot with 1:12 left to play for Fairfield (13-11, 8-7 MAAC). Rider (14-13, 7-9 MAAC) got a pair of good looks in the paint in the final 10 seconds, but could neither get the shots to fall nor the benefit of a whistle.
“Defensively, too many breakdowns, too many missed lay-ups,” said Rider Head Coach Kevin Baggett. “At the free-throw line at the end, you’ve got to make them. If you want to win and you want to get your team up in the league, you’ve got to do the little things to win at the end of the game. Our guys did a good job battling, but we didn’t play smart.”
Lundy led the Broncs with 15 points, including nine in the second half. He hit 5-of-9 shots, including 4-of-7 from long range. Jimmie Taylor (Branford, FL/Suwannee) added 14 points, while Kealen Washington-Ives (Providence, RI/Classical/Putnam Science) chipped in with 13 points and six rebounds. Kahlil Thomas (Parkway, FL/Blanche Ely) contributed eight points and eight rebounds, while Anthony Durham (Philadelphia, PA/Abington/Putnam Science) also had eight points. Norville Carey (British Virgin Islands/Red Lion Christian [Southern Miss]) also had seven points and eight rebounds.
Nelson led Fairfield with 16 points, eight assists and five rebounds. Jerry Johnson, Jr., added 15 points on 5-of-9 from long range, while Amadou Sidibe compiled a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Matija Milin also scored in double figures with 11 points.
A one-possession game for most of the first 10 minutes of the first half, Fairfield took an 18-14 lead on Johnson’s third three-pointer at the 10:04 mark. But Johnson picked up his second foul on Lundy’s three-point play on the next Rider possession and the Broncs went on a 10-0 run. Lundy started and punctuated the run, finishing it off with a trifecta at the 7:04 mark.
Rider built the lead to seven points on four occasions in the first half, but would settle for a 41-37 advantage after 20 minutes. Taylor and Washington-Ives led the Broncs with 11 points apiece in the period. Taylor hit 5-of-6 field-goal attempts, including his only look at a three, while Washington-Ives made 4-of-6 from the floor, including all three of his three-point attempts. Nelson led Fairfield with 12 points. The Broncs made 5-of-8 three-point attempts to Fairfield’s 6-of-20 from long range.
Fairfield scored the first five points of the second half to retake the lead. Following seven ties and four lead changes in the first 15 minutes of the half, Lundy hit consecutive three-pointers at the 4:48 and 4:22 marks to put the Broncs on top by six, 67-61. But three’s from Curtis Cobb and Johnson tied the game at 67-67 with 2:18 left.
Washington-Ives missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 1:28 left and Nelson countered with the game-winning shot 16 seconds later. Following a Rider turnover, the Broncs got a stop and had the ball with 27.5 seconds left. Washington-Ives found Thomas deep in the paint, but his baby hook wouldn’t fall. Johnson missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with six seconds left. Washington-Ives took the ball coast-to-coast but couldn’t convert through contact as the Stags held on for the win.
For the game, Rider outshot Fairfield, 43.9 percent (25-57) to 42.2 percent (27-64) from the floor, 66.7 percent (8-12) to 29.4 percent (10-34) from long range and 60.0 percent (9-15) to 55.6 percent (5-9) from the free-throw line. The Broncs outrebounded Fairfield, 40-34.
The Broncs return to action Friday, when they play host to Canisius. Tip-off from Alumni Gymnasium is scheduled for 7 p.m. on ESPN3.
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