By Carlos Toro
After the men’s basketball team’s close loss to Monmouth, the Broncs rebounded with a home win for the record books against Quinnipiac.
Rider (14-13, 7-9 MAAC) defeated Quinnipiac 112-107 on Feb. 11 in the highest scoring game the Broncs have been a part of in more than 60 years.
Rider Head Coach Kevin Baggett, expressing in the postgame press conference his disbelief at the absurdly high number of points scored, said this was a solid win for his group, that is now making a run at a first-round bye in the MAAC Tournament.
“[This team] has resiliency,” Baggett said. “This is what we were at the beginning of the year and we were having success. I thought we have been practicing better. I think we’re in the right mind frame. Sometimes when you’re in a lull and things don’t go your way, you make them go your way. We got seniors who have been through this and I thought they did a good job.”
The Broncs were the first to get on the board against Quinnipiac (10-16, 7-9 MAAC) thanks to a layup from sophomore guard Kealen Washington-Ives. After the Bobcats tied it up on their following possession, Rider quickly jumped to a nine-point lead thanks to a couple of three-point shots made by senior forward Kahlil Thomas.
After Rider spent most of the last 10 minutes of the first half with at least an eight-point lead, Quinnipiac’s junior forward Chaise Daniels and freshman guard Peter Kiss cut their team’s deficit to just five points at the half.
Coming out of halftime, Quinnipiac went on an 11-2 run to give itself the lead for the first time in the game. After Kiss scored on a layup to give Quinnipiac a 63-62 lead with 13:02 remaining in the game, Rider scored 17 straight points, with senior guard Jimmie Taylor turning in a career night, scoring 37 points.
While the Bobcats cut into the Broncs lead at several points afterwards, they never retook the lead as both teams scored shot after shot, resulting in Rider scoring 112 points, tied for second-most in program history for a game that ended in regulation. The highest scored game was when Rider defeated Lincoln 121-82 back in the 1954-55 season. Rider teams also scored 112 in regulation in 1995-96 (vs. LIU Brooklyn) and 1960-61 (vs. Montclair State).
Taylor said the team wanted to keep up with Quinnipiac’s offense heading into the game.
“There’s always some urgency,” Taylor said. “For us seniors, this is our last year and we want to end things on a good note. We wanted to start off aggressively.”
After the exciting shootout at Alumni Gym, the Broncs traveled to Fairfield (13-11, 8-7 MAAC) on Feb. 13.
After Fairfield led early in the game, the Broncs took a 10-0 scoring run that started and ended with senior forward Xavier Lundy scoring the ball. Rider had a 41-37 halftime lead while shooting 49 percent from the field.
The Broncs offense suffered greatly in the second half, only making nine field goals. Despite this, Rider had a six-point lead late in the game thanks to two three-pointers from Lundy.
The Stags did mount a massive comeback to win the game. They ended the game on an 8-0 scoring run, but the last shot made came from junior guard Tyler Nelson with 1:12 remaining, giving Rider plenty of chances to win, but it was unsuccessful in doing so.
After Rider committed a turnover with less than a minute remaining, the Broncs then got a defensive stop, creating another chance to win the game.
Sophomore guard Kealen Washington-Ives managed to pass the ball to Thomas into the paint, but he could not make his shot. Rider couldn’t make the shot to win the game.
Even though Rider had another great game shooting from beyond the perimeter, making 67 percent of those shots, it only made 35 percent of its two-point field goals.
The Broncs have four more tries to improve their standing in the MAAC with the next games being a home game against Canisius on Feb. 17 and a road game against Iona on Feb. 19. Rider has already beaten Canisius earlier this season but fell to Iona at home on Feb. 3.