PUERTO VALLARTA, MEXICO - Since most college students are on a limited budget, their beer of choice is often the inexpensive Milwaukee's Best.
On Sunday (Nov. 25) Rider took on Milwaukee's best basketball team, the perennial Horizon League champion Panthers of UWM and won in the fourth and final game of the Hoops for Hope Classic.
With the win, Rider (4-3) goes 2-2 in the tournament, 2-0 in Mexico, and wins the Rick Majerous Cup. "I'm proud of these guys," said Rider head coach Kevin Baggett. "I thought they did a great job today. We're coming together as a team and I was glad they were able to enjoy this time here."
Holding a 47-37 lead, Rider out-scored UWM 14-3, six points by junior Anthony Myles (Dover, DE/Poly-Tech), to take a 61-40 lead with 7:52 remaining. Myles finished with a game-high 14 points, a game-high six rebounds and three assists.
Myles was named to the All-Tournament team.
Holding a 27-21 lead, Rider went on a 7-1 run, five points by junior Nurideen Lindsey (Philadelphia, PA/Overbrook), to take a 34-22 lead with 4:33 left in the first half, and the Broncs led 43-31 at intermission. Lindsey finished with nine points and three rebounds.
The Broncs jumped out to a 10-5 lead, four points by junior Daniel Stewart (Philadelphia, PA/Neumann-Goretti), and led 16-7 with 11:50 left in the first half. "Danny was not playing as tough as I knew he could play so we had a talk the other day," Baggett said. "I told him I lean on him, I trust him as one of the upperclassmen and that he had to play well for us to have success and he got us off to a good start."
Stewart finished with 11 points and six rebounds. "I was proud of Danny today," Baggett added.
UWM junior guard Jordan Aaron, who is averaging 19 points per game, was held to just seven points and four assists.
Rider out-rebounded UWM 40-31 and had 17 second chance points compared to just four for UWM. "That stat makes me very happy," Baggett said. "We're not settling for three-point shots like we were early on. Guys are getting to the basket."
Rider held the Panthers to .375 shooting from the field. The Broncs shot .451 from the field and had six blocked shots, two by sophomore center Junior Fortunat (Montreal, Quebec/Roman Catholic). "I told Junior before the season that if are going to be good, he has to be good," Baggett said. "Today he was good."
Fortunat added 11 points and five rebounds in just 20 minutes of action.
Rider senior Jonathon Thompson (Orlando, Fla./Jones) added seven points, five assists, four steals and five rebounds. Freshman Zedric Sadler (Detroit, Mich/Cody) contributed eight points, five rebounds and two steals.
UWM (2-4) won 59 games over the last three years.
Rider returns home to host La Salle Thursday.
After playing four games on the road in seven days, Bronc fans will drink to that.
Hopefully they'll be drinking something better than Milwaukee's Best.