The Campaign

Taylor's game-winning three pushes Broncs into quarterfinals

Courtesy: Rider Sports Information
         
Release: March 03, 2017
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Courtesy: Stockton Photo
ALBANY, NY – Senior guard Jimmie Taylor (Branford, FL/Suwannee) knocked down the game-winning three with four seconds left as the sixth-seeded Rider University men’s basketball team edged 11th-seeded Manhattan, 69-68, in the MAAC Championship First Round Thursday night at the Times Union Center. Manhattan’s Zavier Turner went the length of the court but his buzzer-beating attempt was late. With the win, the Broncs (18-14) advanced to face third-seeded Iona on Saturday at 7 p.m. Manhattan ends the season at 10-22. 

Taylor led the Broncs with 16 points, while Tyere Marshall (Philadelphia, PA/Martin Luther King/Putnam Science) scored a career-high 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting and 3-of-4 from the free-throw line in 12 minutes before fouling out. Norville Carey (British Virgin Islands/Red Lion Christian [Southern Miss]) and Kahlil Thomas (Parkway, FL/Blanche Ely) added 12 points apiece for the Broncs. 

Aaron Walker, Jr., led Manhattan with 18 points off the bench, while Zane Waterman added 15 points. Turner (11) and Tyler Wilson (10) also finished in double figures for the Jaspers.

“I’m happy, first and foremost for Jimmie Taylor,” said Rider Head Coach Kevin Baggett. “This young man is unbelievable. He’s an unbelievable human being. I can’t thank him enough for all that he does. His work ethic, what he represents as a Rider student-athlete and what he means to me as a coach. For him to make that winning three, it’ll be something that Jimmie will forever remember and we’ll forever remember and I’ll forever be appreciative to Jimmie, because we were struggling down the stretch and Jimmie hit a big basket for us.”

The Broncs led for the majority of the opening 20 minutes, with Marshall providing a spark with 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting. A slow-paced first nine and a half minutes resulted in a 13-10 Rider lead, before an 8-2 spurt pushed the Broncs’ lead to nine. The lead grew to 11 on a pair of occasions and remained 10 with less than two minutes left in the half. But six-straight Manhattan points cut the Broncs’ lead to four with 11 seconds left. Kealen Washington-Ives (Providence, RI/Classical/Putnam Science) countered with two free throws to send Rider into the locker room with a 37-31 lead. 

Taylor scored an efficient nine points on 3-of-4 from the floor and 3-for-3 from the free-throw line. Rider was plagued by 10 first-half turnovers, resulting in an 11-4 Manhattan edge in points off turnovers. Manhattan took the air out of the ball in the first half and trotted out 12 different players. Turner and Walker, Jr., led the Jaspers with eight points apiece. 

The Broncs absorbed the Jaspers’ first punch in the second half. Manhattan cut the lead to three on an Ak Ojo lay-up at the 17:22 mark, before Rider rebuilt a 10-point lead on three occasions. But a 7-0 Manhattan run following the final 10-point lead cut it to three and Waterman’s jumper at the 4:27 mark tied the game at 58-58. 

A three from Turner at the 3:50 mark gave Manhattan its first lead since 2-0 and the advantage grew to three on a Thomas Capuano free throw with 2:07 left. Still a two-point lead following 1-of-2 Walker, Jr., free throws at the 1:25 mark, Thomas got inside for two to tie the game on the next Rider possession. 

With 18 seconds left, Walker, Jr., scored on a drive to put the Jaspers on top by two. But Taylor curled from the right wing to the top of the key and unleashed an off-balanced, double-clutch three-point attempt that drew nothing but net. Turner’s attempt on the other end was too late, and following a lengthy review of both the final shot at the horn and another to confirm that Taylor’s toe wasn’t on the three-point line, the Broncs escaped with the one-point victory.

“At times, you need a little luck on your end,” said Baggett. “When you come up in this tournament, it’s not always about the skill or what have you. It’s about getting a little luck and getting a little momentum on your side.”

For the game, the Broncs outshot Manhattan, 43.8 percent (21-48) to 43.4 percent (23-53) from the floor, including a 30.0 percent (3-10) to 26.7 percent (4-15) edge from long range. Rider outrebounded the Jaspers, 35-24. Manhattan took an 81.8 percent (18-22) to 80.0 percent (24-30) advantage from the free-throw line. Manhattan used a 17-8 edge in turnovers to outscore the Broncs, 18-4, off turnovers. 

“It definitely gives us momentum,” said Taylor. “We’re happy that it’s over and we won. But now it’s time to get ready for Iona. We can’t sit here and be hyped for too much longer. Iona is a good team and we have to get ready for them tomorrow.”
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The Campaign