The men’s basketball team returned for the 2017-18 season with just five players who saw action in a game in the previous season. With so few experienced players on the court, the coaches of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) projected the Broncs to finish seventh.
Come February, redshirt freshman Dimencio Vaughn was one of several Broncs taking his turn cutting down the net in Alumni Gym. Surpassing all expectations, the team finished with a share of the MAAC title and the right to enter the MAAC Tournament as the top seed.
Redshirt freshman forward Frederick Scott was named MAAC 6th Player of the Year, Head Coach Kevin Baggett earned his second MAAC Coach of the Year and the team overall had a league-high four players selected to the All-MAAC Teams, including Vaughn (1st Team), Stevie Jordan (2nd Team), Scott (3rd Team) and Jordan Allen (3rd Team, All-Rookie Team).
Rider’s 22 wins were one away from the program record of 23, established in 2007–08 and matched in 2010–11 (both 23–11 campaigns). After falling in the MAAC quarterfinals, Rider made its second appearance in the NIT and its first in 20 years.
Dec. 22: Redshirt freshman Frederick Scott’s buzzer-beating, game-winning three-pointer stuns Penn State, giving the Broncs a 71-70 over Nittany Lions.
Feb. 10: The Broncs go on a tear in the final six minutes to erase a 21-point deficit by outscoring Marist 28-4. The come-from-behind victory against Marist extends the Broncs’ winning streak to eight.
Feb. 18: The Broncs edge Canisius 83-82 in their 10th-straight win, giving them sole possession of first place in the MAAC. The following day, redshirt freshman Dimencio Vaughn is named MAAC Player of the Week for the second week in a row.
Feb. 25: A win over Iona clinches a share of the MAAC Regular Season Championship and the top seed in the MAAC Tournament. The MAAC Regular Season Championship is the Broncs’ fourth in 21 years in the league and just the second time Rider has taken the No. 1 seed in the MAAC Tournament.