Iona defeats Broncs in MAAC Quarterfinals
ALBANY, NY – All five Rider University men’s basketball starters scored in double figures, but the sixth-seeded Broncs fell to No. 3 Iona, 88-70, in the MAAC Championship Quarterfinals Saturday night at the Times Union Center. With the loss, the Broncs fall to 18-15, while the Gaels (20-12) move on to face second-seeded Saint Peter’s in the semifinals tomorrow night at 7 p.m.
Freshman Stevie Jordan (Bensalem, PA/Conwell-Egan/API) scored a team-high 19 points and added a career-high 12 rebounds for his third double-double of the year. Kahlil Thomas (Parkway, FL/Blanche Ely) compiled his MAAC-leading 12th double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds, while Xavier Lundy (Paulsboro, NJ/Paulsboro) added 13 points and nine rebounds. Norville Carey (British Virgin Islands/Red Lion Christian) chipped in with 12 points and six rebounds, while Jimmie Taylor (Branford, FL/Suwannee) rounded out the double-figures scorers with 11 points.
Rickey McGill led Iona with 25 points, six assists and four steals. Schadrac Casimir contributed 22 points, while Jordan Washington finished with 16 points. Deyshonee Much also chipped in with 10 points.
“We just didn’t play well today,” said Rider Head Coach Kevin Baggett. “We didn’t start off the game the right way. Too many turnovers early on. Those guys were the aggressors. They made shots today.”
Iona created separation early, going on a 23-5 run to open up a 32-11 lead. After the lead grew to 22, Rider went on a 9-0 run to close to within 13. Taylor and Thomas hit threes in the stretch. The Broncs cut the deficit to 10 on two occasions and trailed 49-35 at the half.
The Gaels built the lead in large part due to 63.6 percent (7-11) shooting from long range. McGill scored 18 first-half points, including three three-pointers. Casimir added 14 points on 4-of-5 shooting from the floor, 2-for-2 from long range and 4-for-4 from the free-throw line. Thomas and Jordan led the Broncs with nine points apiece, while Taylor added eight and Carey had seven. Iona turned 10 Broncs turnovers into a 17-7 advantage in points off turnovers in the half. The Broncs counted with an 11-3 advantage in second-chance points.
A 7-0 Rider run in the early going of the second half cut the deficit in half. Lundy started the run with a three and Thomas and Jordan followed with a tip-in and a fast-break lay-up. But following an Iona timeout, Casimir knocked down consecutive three-pointers to push the lead back to 13. Rider would get no closer than 10 the rest of the way, with Iona pushing the lead back to as many as 21 with less than four minutes left.
For the game, the Gaels outshot the Broncs, 42.2 percent (27-64) to 38.5 percent (25-65) from the floor, 45.8 percent (11-24) to 38.9 percent (7-18) from long range and 88.5 percent (23-26) to 54.2 percent (13-24) from the free-throw line. The Broncs took a 46-37 edge on the glass and outscored the Gaels, 24-4 on second-chance points. But Iona turned 18 Rider turnovers into 24 points.
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