Men’s College Basketball
Rider University 89, Monmouth University 83
WEST LONG BRANCH, NJ— Welcome to the Club.
Nat King Cole once sang:
Now you know the feeling when you're stung
Now you know why Torchy songs are sung
So you stumbled down the ladder of love to the bottom rung
Well, bub, welcome, welcome, welcome to the club
On Thursday, the Rider Broncs welcomed Monmouth, picked to finish on the conference bottom rung in the preseason polls, to the Club, the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
In front of 2705 fans and an ESPN3 audience, senior Anthony Myles (Dover, DE/Poly-Tech) scored a career-high 28 points, making 10 of 13 foul shots, to lead Rider to a MAAC victory at Monmouth Thursday evening.
“It was a great college basketball atmosphere tonight,” said Rider head coach Kevin Baggett. “This is why you play the game. This shows how good the league is. Monmouth was picked to be at the bottom and we’re barley winning.”
“It is great to be in the MAAC,” said Monmouth head coach King Rice. “The intensity level was great tonight.”
Rider (3-4, 1-0 MAAC) made 22 of 26 foul shots in the final 7:19 of the game to preserve the victory.
With the score tied at 61-61, the Broncs made eight consecutive foul shots on their way to a 10-3 run, six points from senior Daniel Stewart (Philadelphia, PA/Neumann-Goretti), to take a 71-64 lead with 5:17 left to play. Stewart finished with 21 points, making 11 of 12 foul shots. All of his foul shots were in the final 6:12 of the game.
“It’s all about confidence when you get to the line,” Stewart said. “It’s a big game changer.”
Stewart and Myles scored 25 of Rider’s final 28 points of the game. “My seniors did a good job of leading the team tonight,” Baggett said. “It starts and ends with them.”
“We take a lot of responsibility for this team,” Myles said. “When the score was tied at 61 we sort of looked at each other like ‘it’s time to go’.”
For the game, Rider made 28 of 36 foul shots, compared to 10 of 20 for Monmouth (3-5, 0-1 MAAC).
The Hawks out-scored Rider 14-3, four points by Deon Jones, to tie the score at 54-54 with 12:12 left to play. Jones finished with 24 points and seven rebounds.
Holding a 34-33 lead, Rider went on an 8-0 run, five points by sophomore Zedric Sadler (Detroit, Mich/Cody), and Rider led 42-35 at the half. Sadler finished with 11 points, seven rebounds and six assists.
Trailing 26-23, Rider out-scored Monmouth 11-2, four points by Stewart, to take a 34-28 lead.
After falling behind early, Rider went on a 20-2 run, six points by Myles, to take a 23-17 lead midway through the first half. “Our guys did a good job being patient and rallying back,” Baggett said.
During that run Rider held Monmouth scoreless for five minutes.
Monmouth jumped out to a 15-3 lead, five points each by Andrew Nicholas and Jones. Nicholas finished with 13 points. “Good job by Monmouth,” Baggett said. “They jumped out to a big lead early on.”
It marks the second year in a row that the Broncs began 1-0 in the MAAC, the fourth time in the last six years and the ninth time in the 17 years in the conference. “It’s very important to get that first league game,” Myles said.
“We needed this one,” Baggett said. “The conference is what’s most important.”
Also for Rider, freshman Jimmie Taylor III (Branford, Fla./Suwannee) compiled 15 points.
On December 5, 1987 Rider Hall of Famer Ron Simpson made a Rider-record nine three point field goals. Twenty-six years to the day later, Rider and Monmouth each made 11 three-pointers.
Rider and Monmouth were Northeast Conference rivals for five years in the 1990s. Rider defeated Monmouth in the 1994 NEC Title Game at Rider and lost the 1996 Title Game at Monmouth.
Rider is now 13-4 vs. Monmouth since the Broncs left the NEC. Rider has won the last seven games against Monmouth and nine of the last 10 meetings with the Hawks. The Broncs and Hawks have now met 39 times since the series began in 1974-75 with Rider winning 24.
The last time Monmouth beat Rider was during the 2006-07 season (67-66).
The Broncs host new MAAC member Quinnipiac December 8 for a Sunday afternoon game beginning at 2pm. That will also be Academic Achievement Day.
“Now we have to go home and try to protect the home court,” Baggett said.
And welcome Quinnipiac to the Club.