Dominant Thompson not enough in overtime thriller
By Corey Donetz
Coming off a road win over conference foe St. Peter’s, the Broncs were back on the road again on Saturday to take on the Pride of Hofstra. The ESPN Bracketbuster contest went down to the wire as the Broncs fell 92-89 in overtime.
Senior Ryan Thompson had a standout game, compiling a career-high 38 points, six rebounds and six assists.
“The Hofstra game was fun,” Thompson said. “It was a back and forth game the whole time and my team was just getting me the ball in the right spots and I was making plays when I needed to.”
The performance gave Thompson the nod for MAAC Player of the Week, which is the third time in four weeks that he has earned this honor.
Led by Thompson, Rider fought back in the second half despite being down by as many as 11 points.
“It’s good to show that we can always fight back because who knows what situation we are going to be put in the MAAC tourney,” Thompson said. “With us being able to come back when we are down is good for us just in case we need to do it again in a big spot in the MAAC tournament.”
Sophomore Novar Gadson stepped up in the second half as he scored 16 points, including the game-tying lay up with just 10 seconds remaining, making the score 75-75. Hofstra couldn’t convert on its last possession, sending the game into overtime.
Hofstra dominated the start of the overtime period, jumping out to an 85-79 lead. The Broncs cut the lead when junior Justin Robinson hit a three-pointer followed by a two-point basket that cut the lead to one point. This was the closest the Broncs would get as Hofstra closed out the game strong. Robinson had a productive performance finishing with 12 points, six rebounds and six assists.
Rider out-rebounded Hofstra by one, but turned the ball over 22 times. Hofstra also got to the line more and converted on 32 of their 40 foul shots, while the Broncs went 20-27.
Despite losing, the Broncs look to keep playing well against MAAC rival Siena tonight at 7 p.m. The game will be aired on ESPNU.
“The Siena game is a big rival game for us because they are the No. 1 team in the conference and everyone is looking to beat them,” Thompson said. “They beat us the first time we played them and we want to get that game back from them on our home floor.”
Siena is also coming off a loss in an ESPN Bracketbuster contest. The No. 18 team in the country, Butler, defeated the Saints 70-53, giving Siena an overall record of 22-6.
The Broncs will recognize their seniors Sunday before squaring off against Canisius at 2 p.m. at Alumni Gym, as it is the final game of the regular season. The MAAC Tournament is set to begin March 5 and will end with the Championship game, which wil be televised on ESPN2, taking place on March 8.