|Nurideen Lindsey drives past Evan Hymes/ Photo by GREGG SLABODA|
LAWRENCEVILLE — A month since it last won a game, Rider can finally breathe a sigh of relief.
The Broncs’ five-game losing streak is history.
Anthony Myles scored 14 points, Junior Fortunat added 13 and Rider
swept the season series from Siena for the first time following a 72-53
victory Sunday afternoon at Alumni Gymnasium.
“It was a good feeling to get off that losing streak,” Myles said. “Now we want to get it going in the right direction.
“We were just desperate. We had to come out and get it.”
Myles said he read a quote this week from one of the Siena players
that indicated the Saints thought they would snap their own losing
Instead, Siena lost its 11th straight, and still hasn’t won since a narrow victory over Northern Kentucky on Nov. 17.
“That motivated us,” said Myles, who shot 5 of 7 from the floor, including four 3-pointers.
The Broncs (7-9, 2-2) connected on 53.4 percent from the field and
shot 50 percent (9 of 18) from beyond the arc. Rider only attempted one
free throw — a make by Junior Fortunat with 12:15 remaining that gave it
a 51-31 lead.
Fortunat turned in his best performance to date, grabbing five rebounds to go with his 13 points.
“I just listen to the coaches and try to get better in practice
everyday,” Fortunat said. “Right now, the coach has confidence in me.
Today, I produced well.”
Tommy Pereira beat the first-half buzzer, banking in a half-court 3
that pushed the Rider lead to 32-26 at intermission. The Broncs followed
that with eight in a row to open the second half.
“They came out, hit two 3s and we got down 14,” said Siena coach Mitch Buonaguro. “We didn’t look good against the pressure.”
The Broncs cranked up their full-court pressure in the second half.
The Saints (2-13, 0-4) committed 10 second-half turnovers, leading to 15
Nurideen Lindsey’s fastbreak layup off a steal with 5:24 remaining gave the Broncs a 24-point lead.
“I thought we got after them,” said Rider coach Kevin Baggett. “We
sped them up, and it also sped us up as well. We want to get the game to
our tempo — getting up and down — and get some easy baskets. We were
able to do that in the second half.”
Lindsey finished with 12 points and Jon Thompson added 10 for the
Broncs, who have a three-game win streak over Siena dating back to last
Rob Poole led the Saints with a career-high 22 points. O.D. Anosike
came in with 11 double-doubles but was limited to three points and eight
rebounds. Anosike’s streak of 44 consecutive games with a field goal
was in jeopardy until he made a layup with six seconds left.
Rider double-teamed the Siena forward almost every time he touched
the ball, and other than Poole, his teammates couldn’t knock down open
Siena shot 26.8 percent (15 for 56), connecting on just six of its 24 attempts from 3-point territory.
Guards Evan Hymes and Rakeem Brookins combined for 11 points on 3 of 19 shooting.
Buonaguro struggled to find an answer for his backcourt’s woes.
“The shooting is obviously an issue,” Buonaguro said. “I thought they
handled the ball pretty well in the first half. The turnovers came in
the second half. Is it fatigue? I don’t know. I thought Rider pressed us
well. They probably caused some of the turnovers.”
Now the Broncs hope to build on their first victory in a month.
“I know that feeling of going on a losing streak,” Myles said. “It’s
one of those things where you just have to stay strong and stay with it.
You have to keep believing. It’s all about resilience.”