By Rob Rose
Despite a late run to cut a once 21-point lead to single digits, the men’s basketball team was defeated, 94-80, at Washington State on Dec. 17 in its first game of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational.
“At the end of the day, we couldn’t stop them and this is why we lose again,” said Head Coach Kevin Baggett. “We scored 80 points, it’s not the offense.”
After Washington State’s advantage swelled to 21 three minutes into the second half, Rider attempted to dig itself out of a large hole and cut into the deficit until the final buzzer sounded. Sophomore guard Jordan Allen led the Broncs with 24 points and tied his career-high with seven three-pointers in the loss.
“‘I’m disappointed obviously with the loss,” said Baggett. “I appreciate the fact that the guys were continuing to battle, but we got to play smarter. We got to start the game that way and finish the game that way.”
The Cougars had to manage without Viont’e Daniels, No. 20 all-time in three-pointers in program history, who was out with a concussion, and Arinze Chidom, whose transfer was announced on Dec. 13, however, they had no issues on the offensive end.
Washington State’s Robert Franks was named to the 2019 Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Watch List prior to this season. Franks led the Cougars with 25 points in the contest and connected on three three-pointers. Marvin Cannon and CJ Elleby also contributed 23 and 18 points, respectively.
Both teams traded runs in a back-and-forth first half. After they trailed early on, the Cougars unleashed a 23-2 run over six minutes to build a double-digit advantage. During the spurt, the Broncs were 1-for-9 from the field and were held scoreless for over four minutes.
Although Washington State posted a tremendous run by, Rider continued to battle and hang around. Allen single-handedly kept the Broncs in the contest with his three-point shooting. Allen hit four times from beyond the arc in the first half and had 14 points before halftime.
In addition to the strong performance from Allen, sophomore forward Dimencio Vaughn scored 11 points and grabbed five rebounds before he fouled out in 19 minutes. Junior center Tyere Marshall and sophomore forward Frederick Scott each scored 12 points and pulled down seven rebounds.
The full-court press and subsequent points off turnovers had been the hallmark of Rider’s success this season. Against the Cougars, the Broncs used their pressure defense to cut into the deficit. Rider recorded nine steals and forced 18 turnovers, of which they scored 17 points.
Rider’s next game will be against Drake on Dec. 19 at 8.p.m The contest can be streamed on ESPN+ and is the second of four games during the Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic, of which Rider will have flown a total of 8,731 miles to participate in.
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