With such a strong Philadelphia influence on its roster, Rider's men's basketball team surely looked at home Wednesday night at La Salle's Tom Gola Arena.
The Broncs received a combined 43 points from Philadelphia products Novar Gadson and Mike Ringgold in a 77-68 nonleague win over the Explorers.
Gadson, a 6-foot-7 junior from Bartram, had 25 points and seven rebounds while Ringgold, a 6-7 senior from Roman Catholic, added 18 points, shooting 9 of 13 from the floor.
The other Philadelphia players in the starting lineup were 6-7 freshman Danny Stewart (Neumann-Goretti), who had nine points and seven rebounds, and 6-7 junior Brandon Penn (Paul Robeson), who scored 10 points and two steals.
"It is always good to come home and play in front of friends and family," Gadson said. "We have to continue playing good basketball."
La Salle was led by 6-8 senior Jerrell Williams, who contributed 24 points and 14 rebounds.
Rider is now 8-5; the Explorers dropped to 6-6.
"Our defensive commitment hasn't been good enough," La Salle coach John Giannini said. "I will keep fighting to try to make us better defensively."
The Explorers had been idle since a 89-77 loss to visiting Bucknell on Friday. Up until that game, La Salle had basically beaten the teams that it was favored against and lost as an underdog. The Explorers have played well against quality teams, losing competitive games to three schools that were ranked when they met. La Salle fell to Missouri, 83-71, in the championship of the Cancun Challenge, dropped a 74-64 decision at Baylor, and fell, 84-81 against visiting Villanova.
Giannini wasn't very happy at halftime despite his team's 34-33 lead. He was likely steamed over the Explorers' nine turnovers, although on the positive side La Salle forced 10 first-half turnovers.
The Explorers held the lead at intermission despite a frustrating first half for 6-10 sophomore Aaric Murray, who had scored 28 points and registered his 100th career blocked shot in the loss to Bucknell.
Murray shot just 2 for 10 in the first half, scoring six points, although he did have seven rebounds. He finished the game with 13 points and 10 rebounds, shooting 5 for 14 from the field.
The Explorers received a big boost in the first half from freshman guard Sam Mills. Making only his second start of the season, Mills had 10 points, shooting 4 of 6 from the field. However, Mills would not score in the second half.
Williams, who now has 939 career points, had a team-high 14 in the first half.
The Broncs were paced in the first half by Gadson, who had 11 points, and Ringgold (10).
Both teams did a good job in transition defense, forcing the offenses to play more of a half-court game.
The second half was a different story. Rider got the transition game going.
The Broncs trailed by 54-49 before assuming control by going on a 22-6 run that sealed the game. A dunk by Stewart ended the run, extending the Broncs' lead to 71-60 with 4:47 remaining.
La Salle's Ruben Guillandeaux, who entered the game averaging 15.1 points, was held to 10 points, shooting 3 for 11 from the field.