Lawrenceville – Rick Pittin feels what life is like on the road, at Metro Atlantic’s athletic conference this season.

While the Hall of Fame coaching team has already completed the regular season title and won first place in the conference tournament in Atlantic City, Ion had to work for that distance.

The rider, of course, was not going to facilitate Pitin and company, despite the distance between the teams in the standings.

The Gels needed two late three-pointers – one of which was confirmed after a lengthy examination to determine if he had shot time – to spend Sunday afternoon the Bronx, 67-61, in front of a crowded alumni gymnasium.

“That’s what this league is about,” Pitina said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if we were in the final and they were in the final. You won’t surprise me if we both get knocked out early. This league is really, very close. We can say that we are ahead, but this year we stole three games – twice Marista and once Fairfield – so we are able to win, like everyone in this league.

Jonah coach Rick Pitina talks to his team in a time-out against Ryder during the MAAC men’s basketball game at the Alumni Gymnasium on Sunday afternoon. (Rich Handley III / For Trenton)

Jonah (24-5, 16-2), who never lagged behind in the game, beat Ryder for the eighth time in a row and won the season series for the fourth year in a row. The Bronx (11-17, 7-11) returned to balance from five sides in sixth place with two games to go.

“I know Iona is playing well and they are at the top of this league, but any night at the MAAC,” said Rider coach Kevin Baguette. “I know any team can win, and that’s great in the MAAC, and that’s what’s going to be great in this tournament that’s going to happen in two weeks.”

The Bronx have lost four of their last five, with a total of 14 points. On Sunday in the second half, they fell behind by 17, but twice rallied to reduce the deficit to three.

Lagging 58-55, Ryder owned the ball less than three minutes before the end, but Allen Powell made a misfire at 3 points, and Tyson Jolie joined from downtown in Jonah’s next two trips to all games except ice.

Jolie (16 points) repulsed the backbreaker after he made a pass in a meeting on the court with one second left on the strike clock, and dropped a three. Officials approached the monitor for a long inspection – it looked like the clock shot may have started late – but eventually confirmed the basket.

“A watch separates him by one second,” Baguette said. “That’s all. A one-second watch that was great. It was great. It was great … one second. I think I’m home … if I was on the road, it would be a clockwork violation. I I just know it. “

Jolie naturally said he had no doubt he got shot in time. Pitina said it was a Euroleague game he stole from Turkish side Fenerbahce. It was an example of how Jonah played all season.

“We keep shooting even if we miss shots,” Jolie said. “We continue to have confidence because the coach trusts us. He never wants us to take our foot off the gas. As long as we feel confident in the picture and we are open, take a picture and believe it will happen. ”

Mervyn James of Ryder at the center surrounded by Iona players during the MAAC men’s basketball game at the Alumni Gymnasium on Sunday afternoon. (Rich Handley III / For Trenton)

Powell scored the highest 19 points per game for Ryder, while Dimencia Vaughan added 13 and Dwight Murray Jr. finished with 12.

The Bronx didn’t bounce the ball particularly well – 30.8% overall and 6-on-22 out of 3 – but they played tough on defense and played Gales, 45-37, while capturing 16 offensive boards.

Powell and Vaughn led the rally when they combined all of Ryder’s points into a 16-2 push that reduced the deficit from 17 points to three (53-50) from 5:20 to the end.

“Playing with the confidence we had to play from the start,” Powell said. “That was the main thing. We climbed into them and allowed our defense to lead the offensive. “

Powell added: “We talked about the fact that we were five points away from the winning streak of eight games. We’re not that far off, we just have to cut back on some of those mistakes we make in the end that make us lose the game. We have to fix that. “

Time, however, is running out.

“We are close,” said Baguette, “but not enough.”

Dylan Van Eyck of Jonah, center, is killed by Cedric Altman of Ryder on the left, and Nehemiah Benson (right) also defends during the MAAC men’s basketball game at the Alumni Gymnasium on Sunday afternoon. (Rich Handley III / For Trenton)

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