MAAC play didn’t exactly get under way the Broncs wanted.
Rider (5-4 overall, 0-1 MAAC) lost their conference opener to Niagara (4-2 overall, 1-0 MAAC) 89-77 last night behind senior forward Charron Fisher’s career night.
Fisher played lights out with 36 points for the defending MAAC champions. Shooting just under 30 percent from three-point range before the game, Fisher sank a career high eight threes in the Purple Eagles win.
This was the second most for an individual in Purple Eagles history since Alvin Young had eight against Canisius in 1999.
Niagara was raining 3-pointers all-night with 15, the second most in school history. They chucked up 30 three’s on the night.
Senior forward Jason Thompson picked up his sixth double-double of the season with 25 points and 10 rebounds, also the 35th of his career.
Sophomore guard Ryan Thompson also had a double-double with 12 points and a team leading 12 rebounds. Junior guard Harris Mansell added 15 points.
Junior Lamar Johnson had 11 points for Rider off the bench shooting 4-6 from the field.
Junior center Benson Egemonye had a team-high 12 rebounds for the Purple Eagles to go along with his eight points.
While Niagara was sizzling from three land, Rider struggled behind the arc shooting just 30 percent and 43.5 percent from the field for the game. Niagara had a field goal percentage of just below 45 percent for the game.
Rider was able to hold off a late run by Binghamton in the second half and pick up an 81-73 win last Saturday.
Binghamton (1-7 overall) looked poised for a comeback when it went on an 8-0 run, cutting the Broncs’ lead in half to eight. The Bearcats then stole an inbounds pass and the ball became loose. Freshman guard Justin Robinson picked it up and kicked it out to Johnson, who hit a three in the corner to put the Broncs up 69-58 and end the Binghamton rally.
Harris Mansell led Rider with 23 points, shooting 6-12 from the field. He also made key contributions from the foul line, shooting a perfect 10-10 with eight shots made in the game’s final minute.
“I knew we had to hold the lead and to hold them off,” Mansell said. “They were making a run but it’s a killer when you are trying to make a run and the team with the lead makes its foul shots. I just concentrated and knocked them down.”
As a team, the Broncs struggled from the line, shooting just 12-23.
“Foul shooting has been an Achilles’ heel for us,” said Head Coach Tommy Dempsey. “We have good foul shooters but some of them are not making their foul shots right now. The percentages will swing back into our favor.”
Jason Thompson had yet another double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds. He was ejected from the game in the second half for a scuffle he had with Binghamton’s senior guard Richard Forbes.
“I caught an elbow and it felt like an attack,” Thompson said. “I was just trying to protect myself to stop the attack.”
It looked as if Forbes took a swing at Thompson before he was pushed. There was a feeling early that Forbes wasn’t exactly a happy-camper when he didn’t give any of the Broncs a hand pound before the opening tip.
Freshman Mike Ringgold came up big in the Broncs win with 11 points and a career-high 14 rebounds. It was also his first career double-double.
“I’m just an energy guy,” Ringgold said. “Out there to rebound and play defense, trying to get everybody going. Play my role and do my job. Do the little things.”
With Mansell leading in points and Ringgold leading in rebounds, it’s the first time that someone other than the Thompson brothers led in those categories.
Forbes led Binghamton with 23 points. The Bearcats also got 14 points and eight rebounds from sophomore forward Lazar Trifunovic.
The Broncs remain undefeated on their home court with a record of 4-0.
The Broncs’ will have their first MAAC home game on Jan. 4 against Marist. The team’s next game will be on the road tomorrow night against Canisius.