ATLANTIC CITY – The rider’s luck is finally over.
After a pair of exciting victories to reach the semifinals of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament for the first time in 11 years, the Bronx under ninth seed lost 72-68 against fourth-seeded Monmouth on Friday night at Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall. .
“We knew we had the talent to be here,” Rider coach Kevin Baguette said. “We had a chance to win the game. We put ourselves in a position to move forward, and there’s a couple playing there that I don’t know about. Most of our guys have done an incredible job in the fight. “
George Papas scored 17 of 20 points in the second half, including all nine last-minute free throws when the Hawks (21-12) advanced to Saturday’s championship game against St. Peter’s under the second seed or 11th seed. Quinipiaca. Papas also held on his own 8-0, allowing Monmouth to break ahead by five and then maintain the lead until the remaining 12:35.
Ryder (14-19) reached the semifinals after an incredible victory over Jonah, who took first place, but was canceled when Dimensio Vaughan fouled on Papas in a 3-point attempt 56.1 seconds before the end and the game tied at 62.
After Vaughn scored a goal in a difficult reverse schedule to reduce the deficit to one, he fouled Papas again near the midfield line, and senior Manmouth shot both free throws. Allen Powell had a chance to equalize on the Bronx’s next trip, but his three-pointer was out of place.
“We made some blunders,” Baguette said. “You can’t make some of the mistakes we made. We’ve done this in the past, which cost us games. This is what we will continue to teach our guys. There are things we need to remove that have really haunted us all year. ”
Powell finished with 19 points and made five of six three-point attempts before that shot. Dwight Murray Jr. led Ryder with 20 points.
Murray spent three brilliant games here, including his dramatic kick 7.5 seconds before his victory over Jonah in the quarterfinals. The senior jumper with a score of 1:33 to the end played a draw with a score of 62.
“The atmosphere today was great,” said Murray, who will return next season as a graduate student. “It was a game in High Division I. I want to thank everyone from Rider who came out today because if it weren’t for them, the game wouldn’t be as fun as it used to be. We want to win today. “
Shawar Reynolds added 17 points, while Walker Miller scored 12 in Monmouth, which is trying to win an MAAC title in its final year in the league before leaving for the Colonial Sports Association.
The Hawks make it to the finals for the third time in seven seasons.
“The MAAC was great for Monmouth,” said coach King Rice. “I really think we’ve added a lot to the league. We haven’t won (the championship) yet, we’ve won three in the regular season, and everyone behaving that way doesn’t matter.
“We had the best team and I didn’t bring us to the finish line and that’s up to me. This league has been great for Manmouth and I hope we finish it properly with the championship. ”
The rider entered the tournament at No. 9 seeded, but defeated Manmouth in the regular season final and then snatched a couple of impressive wins to reach the semifinals. He was looking for his first trip to the championship game since 2008.
The Bronx have never won an MAAC tournament, and their last appearance at an NCAA tournament was in 1994 as a member of the Northeast Conference.
“We just wanted to win,” Powell said. “That was the main thing. We had to leave him on the floor every night to move on. It will survive and move on. Today was not the day. “