PUERTO VALLARTA, MEXICO - Many vacationers travel to exotic places and enjoy swimming with the dolphins.
The Rider men's basketball team traveled to Mexico and played with the Dolphins of Jacksonville University Friday (Nov. 23) and had just as an enjoyable time.
In the third game of the Hoops for Hope Classic, Rider (3-3) scored a season-high 86 points to defeat Jacksonville (2-4). "I am definitely more pleased today," said Rider head coach Kevin Baggett. "These guys have been battling, playing hard. I wanted them to have a chance to enjoy this trip and now they can."
Holding a 57-46 lead, Rider out-scored JU 11-4, eight points by junior Anthony Myles (Dover, DE/Poly-Tech), to take a 68-50 lead with 7:52 remaining. "I've been challenging Anthony to drive it more, get to the basket, and he responded today," Baggett said. "It is one of the best games he's played. He played a complete game today."
With his parents in attendance, Myles finished with a career-high 23 points while grabbing a career-high nine rebounds. "I felt good," said Myles, who made seven of 12 shots from the field, including three of four three-pointers and six of eight foul shots. "We were on a two-game losing streak and if we want to be a good team we can't have losing streaks."
Rider led 44-33 before going on an 8-4 run, with four different Broncs scoring to take a 52-35 lead with 13:15 left to play.
Holding a 27-22 lead, Rider out-scored Jacksonville 7-4 over the final 5:46 of the first half, three points by senior Jonathon Thompson (Orlando, Fla./Jones), to take a 34-26 lead at intermission. Thompson finished with 18 points, one shy of his career high, along with a game-high six assists and six rebounds. It was the 100th career game for Thompson.
Trailing 6-2, Rider went on a 19-3 run, as seven different Broncs scored, to take a 21-9 lead with 11:06 remaining.
Rider junior Nurideen Lindsey (Philadelphia, PA/Overbrook) added 10 points and four assists, while freshman Zedric Sadler (Detroit, Mich/Cody) added nine points, three rebounds, two steals and two assists in 18 minutes off the bench. "Zedric played very well," Baggett said. "We had a number of guys step up today."
Senior forward Glenn Powell led the Dolphins with 22 points and 12 rebounds. Jacksonville was coming off a 78-56 loss at Arkansas Little Rock on Wednesday.
Rider forced Jacksonville into 19 turnovers. "We were determined to come out aggressive, on both ends of the floor," said Myles, who also had a blocked shot and a steal.
The Broncs were coming off an 83-70 loss at SMU on Wednesday.
Rider and Jacksonville had only met once, with the Dolphins winning 77-72 in the 1958-59 Quantico Tournament.
Jacksonville competes in the Atlantic Sun Conference. Last year the Dolphins were 8-22 overall, 6-12 in conference play. In the A-Sun tournament last year Jacksonville lost in the first round to the top seed, Belmont, by 10 points.
This is Rider's second trip to Mexico in four years. The Broncs played in the Cancun Challenge during the 2009-10 season, losing at Virginia and at Kentucky before defeating Florida A&M and losing to Sam Houston State in Mexico.
"With this win we can now enjoy the trip," Myles said. "Now we have to try to get another win."
"Now we can enjoy today, get back to work tomorrow and get ready for UW Milwaukee," Baggett said.
Rider plays UW-Milwaukee Sunday afternoon in the fourth and final game of the Hoops for Hope Classic. The Broncs are hoping for just as an enjoyable experience.