By Michael O’Brien
Super Bowl XLVI between the Giants and the Patriots was an instant classic, yet if you were fortunate to be in the Bronc Zoo three hours prior to kickoff; you witnessed another instant classic, this time coming on the hardwood. The game between the Broncs and Niagara quickly surpassed all the Super Bowl pregame hype as Rider overcame a 17-point deficit in 12 minutes to stun the Purple Eagles, 74-73. The win might be the motivation the Broncs need for a late season run through the MAAC tournament.
Trailing 59-42, the Broncs went on a 22-3 run that was lead by junior Jonathon Thompson and sophomore Anthony Myles. The combined effort was enough to propel the Broncs into the lead with six minutes remaining. Marvin Jordan of Niagara turned out to be a thorn in the Broncs comeback effort, however, as he drained three consecutive three-pointers to give the Purple Eagles what seemed to be a comfortable seven point lead with three minutes left in the game.
The Broncs were not going to throw in the towel at home, however, as they came back again to tie the game in the final minute on a clutch shot from behind the arc by Myles. After Niagara’s Antoine Mason banked in a bucket to give Niagara a two point lead with 6.6 seconds left, Thompson drove up the court and found senior Brandon Penn, who had been cold all day from three-point range. Penn took the desperation shot and sank it which sent the Broncs Zoo into a complete frenzy with players, students, cheerleaders, dancers and fellow fans in complete amazement with what Rider was able to accomplish in just under 12 minutes.
Was this is a victory to be remembered? Yes. Yet, for the Broncs it will be back to work soon as they take on Canisius and Niagara this weekend.
The Giants finished with only a 9-7 record and won the Super Bowl. Could the Broncs finish with a sub .500 record and still find a way to win the MAAC tournament and have a berth in the NCAA tournament? The answer is a definitive, yes.