By Carlos Toro
Following a disappointing loss to Lehigh in the Broncs’ opening game of the season, Rider traveled to West Lafayette, Ind., to take on Purdue on Nov. 17.
The Broncs looked to rebound against a tough Purdue team following the season opening loss.
“The game plan was to stop their shooters, contain their bigs, and just come with a win,” sophomore guard Zedric Sadler said. “Offensively, we needed to make good shots, not settling threes, because of the new rules with the fouling. We just needed to get to the free throw line.”
Rider (0-2) managed to out-rebound the Boilermakers 37-34, but committed 14 turnovers while Purdue (3-0) had only nine.
The Broncs led the game 13-8 early, but fell behind during the second half. The Boilermakers extended the lead to 19-13 while holding the Broncs scoreless for nearly four minutes.
Despite being down 36-23 with five minutes remaining in the half, Rider managed to tie the score at 40 with a 17-4 run.
“Coach Baggett said it was basically 0-0. Purdue was going to come out strong, so we needed to come out strong as well,” Sadler said.
The Broncs went on a 15-6 run at the beginning of the second half, which gave Rider a 55-46 lead. Despite the lead, Baggett knew that there was a lot of basketball left.
“You’re never comfortable in a game, no matter what the score is or how many points we were leading,” Baggett said. “We didn’t do a good enough job withering that last run in the end.”
Purdue shot 51% from the field but made just 16 of 31 free throws. Rider made 24 of 31 free throws to stay in the game, but could not muster up the clutch shots at the end. The Broncs managed to cut the lead to 77-75 with a three-pointer with 38 seconds remaining in the game from senior guard Anthony Myles.
Myles led the team with 19 points and also added six rebounds and two assists. Senior forward Danny Stewart added 16 points and six rebounds. Stewart surpassed 1,000 career points for his career.
Senior guard Tommy Pereira was pleased with the team’s effort, but felt the Broncs could have come out on top.
“They were heavily favored on paper, but we weren’t going to just let them feel like it was a practice game,” he said. “We went in there with the mindset that we were going to win, and with a bit more composure we would have.”
Rider faces Central Connecticut State (0-3) on Nov. 23. The Blue Devils also lost to Purdue earlier this season 109-73.
Baggett hopes to turn the team’s fortune around with a win this weekend.
“It’s important. We obviously need a win.” Baggett said. “We’re trying to get our first win, get over the hump. If you’re going to be a good team, you need to know how to win on the road.”