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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Rider gets revenge on Marist

LAWRENCEVILLE — The last time the Rider men’s basketball team faced Marist it was left with a sour taste in its mouth.

Friday night was payback for that 20-point loss back in early December.

Brandon Penn had 24 points and Novar Gadson 19 as the Broncs ran rampant in a 99-86 victory over the Red Foxes that wasn’t as close the final score indicated.

“We couldn’t let them come here and sweep us,” Penn said. “We had to try and get them back.”



Get them back they did.

Rider led by as many as 28 during a 14-7 opening to the second half sparked by a trio of Penn 3-pointers. The Broncs held a 59-33 with advantage after Penn’s sixth 3-pointer of the night fell through the hoop with just over 16 minutes remaining.


Marist never really got back into the game, although it did cut the lead to 86-73 with 4:19 left after Adam Kemp (15 points) converted a 3-point play.

But Jon Thompson stunted any hope of a miracle comeback with a dunk of the year contender.

Thompson put Manny Thomas on a poster with a monstrous one-handed jam to cap a quick 6-0 run and put the Broncs back up 19 with 3:04 remaining.
A technical foul was assessed to Rider’s Dera Nd-Ezuma for taunting after the dunk.

“They were talking trash at the end, so I kind of wanted to shut them up,” Thompson said.

Thompson finished with 11 points, all in the second half. Danny Stewart and Anthony Myles chipped in 14 each.

Thomas led Marist (7-8, 2-2) with 17 points off the bench.

Rider (5-11, 2-2), which is in the midst of playing eight of nine away from Alumni Gymnasium, has won four of five and two in a row in the MAAC.

“We’ve been playing harder,” Penn said. “We’ve rebounded the ball better and been playing better defense. I think that’s helped us get more wins.”

The Broncs forced 12 Marist turnovers and converted them into 23 points. They also got to the basket frequently, outscoring the Red Foxes, 52-28 in the paint.

The only thing coach Tommy Dempsey won’t like is the 62 points his team allowed in the second half despite the game being well within hand and Marist showing no ability to stop the Broncs’ offense.

“I like the way we showed up,” Dempsey said. “We took our foot off the gas in the second half of our last two games. But to be in a position where we are up 20-plus points two games in a row against two teams (Manhattan and Marist) that beat us is a real sign of growth. And that’s what we’ve been looking for.”

In its last two games, Rider has looked like the team that was picked to finish fourth in the MAAC and not the one that got off to its worst start in 68 years.
“Those two teams kicked our butt the first two times,” Dempsey said. “We’ve come back and pretty much dominated Manhattan and Marist to start the New Year. We need to continue that on Sunday.”

Penn got Rider off to a fast start with eight of its first 16 points as the Broncs quickly put Marist in the rearview mirror.

Thompson and Myles connected on an alley-oop with 11:35 remaining that put Rider up 22-13. The Broncs built the advantage to 14 before a 7-2 spurt by the Red Fox prompted Dempsey to call timeout.

His team responded by close the final 6:11 on a 14-2 run punctuated by Nd-Ezuma’s tip in at the buzzer that gave Rider a 45-24 halftime lead.

NOTES: Sophomore guard Tommy Pereira left the game late in the first half after landing awkwardly on his right ankle. He returned to the bench on crutches for the second half. Freshman guard Eddie Mitchell momentarily left the game after a hard foul on Chavaughn Lewis. Both players came up grimacing and Mitchell had his left hip looked at by trainers but returned shortly thereafter.

•••

William Lockhart, a freshman at Foundation Collegiate Academy of Trenton, was the first ever recipient of the Laurence Young Boy’s Basketball Camp Memorial Scholarship.

Lockhart will have the opportunity to attend the Tommy Dempsey Net Results Basketball Camp for a week during the summer.

The scholarship was created in the memory of Laurence Young, a former standout for the Rider men’s basketball team from 1999-2004 who died on Nov. 6 in Brazil from an apparent oral infection.

He was playing professionally there at the time of his death.
Young scored 755 career points in 105 games for the Broncs.

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