The visiting Rider Broncs closed the game on a 15-3 run over the final 3:24 to erase a seven point Canisius lead en route to a 71-66 victory over the Golden Griffins Thursday night in the Koessler Athletic Center. The win moved Rider to 11-15 overall and 8-6 in MAAC play, while Canisius slipped to 4-20 on the year and 1-13 in conference action.
Four Canisius players scored in double figures in the loss, led by junior Harold Washington and his first career double-double, as he posted 15 points to go along with 10 rebounds and five assists. Sophomore Chris Manhertz was good for 15 points and eight boards, while freshman Franklin Milian added 11 points to the Blue and Gold's cause. Junior Alshwan Hymes chipped in 10 points and recorded two steals for Canisius, which shot 37.5 percent from the field, 27.3 percent from 3-point land and 75 percent from the free-throw line for the game.
Rider senior Novar Gadson was good for a game-high 19 points and added nine rebounds for the Broncs, which ended up sweeping the regular-season series from Canisius with the win. Senior Brandon Penn and sophomore Anthony Myles had 12 points apiece and senior Jeff Jones scored 10 points for the Broncs, who ended the night shooting 35.9 percent from the floor, 24.1 percent from 3-point land and 69.2 percent from the charity stripe.
The Griffs led by 10 points at 59-49 with 7:19 left on the clock after Hymes drained a pair of free-throws. From there, Rider whittled the Blue and Gold's margin down to three points at 59-56 with 5:41 thanks to a 7-0 scoring run where Gadson and Penn accounted for six of the Broncs' seven points. Canisius stretched its hold back to seven points at 63-56 with 4:57 left to play, but Rider scored four-straight points on back-to-back dunks by junior Jonathon Thompson and Myles to make the score 63-60 in favor of Canisius with 2:42 left on the clock. After a Canisius turnover, Myles hit a jumper in the paint with 2:04 left in regulation time to get the Broncs within one at 63-62, and after another Canisius miscue, Gadson laid one into the hoop to give Rider the 64-63 lead with 1:38 left to play, the Broncs' first lead of the night. Penn made it a three-point game with a bucket with 45 seconds left to play and Rider ended the game by going 5-for-5 from the free-throw line in the last 18 seconds to seal the win.
"I really feel for these guys because that's a tough loss to take," Canisius head coach Tom Parrotta said. "We did a lot of good things out there tonight, enough good things to win the game. In the first half, we took care of the ball, we really moved it around and we made shots. Down the stretch, we had some guys in positions that they aren't normally in and we missed too many shots late. Our guys battled hard, but I give credit to Rider. They just did the same thing to Niagara last weekend. You need to keep making shots because they're talented and they keep coming at you."
Thompson finished the night with 10 assists for Rider and the Broncs were able to turn 12 Canisius turnovers into 19 points. Freshman Josiah Heath was credited with eight rebounds for Canisius, the fifth time in the team's last eight contests where he's been good for eight boards in a game. Fellow freshman Kevin Bleeker added six points and led the team with two blocked shots.
Canisius will return to action Saturday, Feb. 11, when the team plays host to Siena. That game will be shown live on Time Warner SportsNet throughout New York state, and tipoff is set for 2 p.m.
Game Notes: This was the 36th all-time meeting between these two schools, with Rider holding a 29-7 advantage in the series... Rider has now won three straight over the Griffs, dating back to the 2011 MAAC Tournament in Bridgeport, Conn.... Washington is the fourth player on this year's team to record his first career double-double, and the 10 rebounds are a career best for the junior guard... Washington now has a total of 405 points this season in 24 games... He is the first Canisius player to score more than 400 points in his first season as a Griff since "Sugar" Ray Hall had 454 points in his rookie season of 1981-82... Manhertz has recorded double figures in the scoring column in seven different games this season... Bleeker returned to the starting lineup for Canisius for the first time since the UNLV game Nov. 17... Canisius was without the services of junior guard Gaby Belardo, who did not dress because of his back injury... He is listed as "day-to-day".