Hofstra 92, Rider 89 (OT)
various players, the Broncs remain Ryan Thompson’s team.
If Thompson is a non-factor, as he was for stretches early in the
year, Rider is anywhere from mediocre to awful. But if Thompson is
dominant, his team is dangerous – a reality that was on display
yesterday in the Broncs’ 92-89 overtime loss to Hofstra.
In stepping out of MAAC play for a BracketBuster game against the
Pride, the Broncs were focused more on their level of play than on the
final result – a situation similar to teams throughout the country who
are far from the NCAA tournament discussion.
In that regard, yesterday was at least a partial success.
Thompson, in the midst of the most dominant stretch of his career, was
at his very best yesterday. The senior guard scored a career-high 38
points, preventing the Pride (16-13) from turning it into a blowout on
“I got a lot of open shots and got to the free throw line a lot,”
Thompson said. “My teammates just got me the ball in good positions.
I was knocking down open shots. It wasn’t anything too different.”
Thompson entered this year having scored 30 or more points only once –
in the Broncs’ quarterfinal win over Saint Peter’s in the MAAC
tournament, when he had 30 exactly. In his last six games, he’s topped
30 three times.
Playing with confidence that was absent for almost all of January,
he’s been every bit the player the MAAC coaches thought he would be
when they voted him preseason Player of the Year. Yesterday he found
free lanes to the hoop all day, never lagging despite playing all 45
“He’s in great shape,” Rider coach Tommy Dempsey said. “He’s really
worked hard at his body over the course of his career. He’s a grown
man now. He’s been through the wars before and he knows what to
expect. … Even now, at the end of the season when he’s played most of
the game the whole year, he’s playing his best basketball.”