Following a 75-61 conference loss to Loyola last Friday, junior Ryan Thompson led Rider’s men’s basketball team to a 68-55 conference win over Canisius on Sunday.
In the loss to Loyola (11-13, 6-6 MAAC), Thompson had 13 points and four assists. He came out stronger against Canisius as he went 10-12 from the free-throw line and connected on four out of six three-pointers, compiling a total of 28 points, a new career high.
“Everyone has bad games, but the great ones always bounce back with a good game,” said Head Coach Tommy Dempsey. “Ryan played really well against Canisius.”
Although the Broncs (12-7, 7-4 MAAC) lost by 14 to Loyola, the final score was not indicative of how close the game really was. Down 13 at one point in the second half, the Broncs were able to cut the lead to 3 with five minutes to go but could get no closer.
“We got it down to 3 points but they kept scoring,” Thompson said. “Every time we would bring it back they would go back up. We couldn’t get fully back into the game.”
Freshman Novar Gadson had 11 points and nine rebounds. Sophomore Mike Ringgold went 6-11 from the field, ending up with 13 points, and senior Harris Mansell managed 11 points before fouling out late in the second half.
The Broncs went 10-16 from the free throw line while Loyola went 24-37.
Against Canisius (7-15, 2-10 MAAC), Rider was able to cash in at the charity stripe, connecting on 23 of 29 while Canisius ended up 14-25.
“I have a lot of confidence in this team,” said Thompson. “I knew we were going to bounce back and play well.”
Sophomore Justin Robinson had 13 points and three steals for the Broncs while Gadson compiled 10 points and 11 boards.
“You have to have a short memory in this league,” said Robinson. “It was good to come out and play as soon as possible after Friday’s loss.”
The Broncs were able to jump out to a quick lead and kept that lead the entire first half. Canisius came out strong in the second half before Rider responded with an 18-7 run, which gave them a lead they would not relinquish.
With six minutes left in the half, the Broncs’ lead had been cut to 3. Thompson then took it strong to the hoop, got fouled and made both free throws. On Rider’s next possession, Mansell snatched a defensive board and threw an outlet pass to Gadson. Gadson then tossed a perfect alley-oop pass to Thompson who threw down a thunderous one-handed slam over a Canisius defender.
From that point on Rider never looked back making 9-10 free throws in the last four minutes to seal the game.
Rider is now third in the MAAC behind Siena and Niagara. The Broncs are hosting Siena Saturday at 1 p.m. which will prove to be a tough test since the Saints have not lost a conference game and are a perfect 12-0.
“With Siena coming in on Saturday I thought it was important we get a win against Canisius so we can feel a little bit better with how we are playing,” said Dempsey.