LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J. – Host Rider University jumped out to an early 10-0 lead and never looked back as the Broncs defeated Canisius College 89-65 Sunday afternoon in Alumni Gymnasium. The win snapped Rider’s three-game losing skid and improved the team to 7-14 overall and 4-5 in MAAC play, while the Golden Griffins slipped to 4-15 overall and 1-8 in league action.
Rider forward Brandon Penn scored a game-high 25 points after he went 7-for-15 from the field, with all seven makes coming from 3-point land, and 4-for-4 from the free-throw line to go with six rebounds and a steal. Senior Novar Gadson chipped in 22 points, eight rebounds and three assists for Rider, which closed out the contest shooting 50 percent from the field, 40.9 percent from 3-point land and 75.9 percent from the free-throw line. Canisius junior Harold Washington scored a team-high 22 points and dished out five assists in the loss for the Blue and Gold, while fellow junior Gaby Belardo was good for 19 points and three steals. The Griffs shot just 34.9 percent from the floor and 29.4 percent from behind the arc.
Penn and Gadson combined to score six of Rider’s first 10 points before Canisius posted its first basket of the game, a 3-pointer by junior Alshwan Hymes, 5:34 into the contest that made the score 10-3. The 3-point shot kept the Griffs in the game early as the Blue and Gold used a 10-5 run to make the score 19-16 with 7:44 left before the halftime break, with nine of those points coming from long range. Rider took control for good moments later as the host squad went on a 19-2 run over a span of 5:01, and Penn and Gadson once again combined to tally 13 of Rider’s points during the exchange that left the Broncs in the lead by a score of 38-18 with 2:19 left before the teams went into the locker room for intermission.
In the second half, Rider pushed its hold to 24 early on before the Blue and Gold made a push to try and get back into the game midway through the second stanza. Trailing 57-36 with 15:36 left to play, Canisius used a 10-2 run over 1:43, and a triple by Belardo from the right corner with 13:44 left to play made the score 59-46 in favor of the Broncs. But Rider answered the Griffs’ charge by scoring eight of the game’s next nine points to push its margin back to 20 points at 67-47 with 11:23 left on the clock.
Hymes had 10 points in the loss for Canisius, while freshman Franklin Milian added a career-high seven points in 18 minutes of action off the bench. Three Rider players had eight rebounds for the Broncs in the win as Rider out rebounded the Blue and Gold by a 50-28 count. Canisius freshman Josiah Heath had a team-high eight rebounds for the Griffs while Hymes matched a career-high with seven boards.
Canisius will return home for its next game when the team hosts Manhattan in the Koessler Athletic Center Friday, Jan. 27. Tipoff between the Griffs and the Jaspers is set for 7:15 p.m.
Game Notes: This was the 35th all-time meeting between these two schools, with Rider holding a 28-7 all-time lead… As a team, Canisius made 10 3-point field goals, the fourth time this season the team has hit 10-or more treys in a game… The Griffs matched a season-high with 13 steals… Washington has scored 20-or more points in seven games this season… Heath has led the Blue and Gold in rebounding six times this season and this marked the seventh time this year he’s had seven-or more rebounds in a game… Hymes also had seven rebounds against Bowling Green Dec. 12, 2009 at home.