LAWRENCEVILLE — Maybe Danny Stewart is justified in saying Rider stole a victory Saturday afternoon against Monmouth.
It’s not often that you turn the ball over 28 times and win.
Yet the Broncs gutted out two key defensive stops in the final
minute and hung on, 65-62, for a sixth consecutive victory over their
“I think we stole one,” Stewart said honestly after scoring a
game-high 18 points, including a stretch of eight straight,
single-handedly keeping the Broncs in front after Monmouth tied it with
7:25 to go.
“We played hard, but too many turnovers,” Stewart continued. “(We)
can’t turn over the ball that many times because against a better team,
that amount of turnovers will get you beat.”
Rider, despite the turnovers, also showed grit.
Leading by two with less than a minute remaining, Zedric Sadler
blocked Jesse Steele’s 3-point attempt and, after Nurideen Lindsey split
a pair of free throws, Jon Thompson forced Andrew Nicholas — Monmouth’s
leading scorer, who had a dreadful afternoon (eight points on 3 of 17
shooting) — into a contested 3-point try that was well off the mark.
“To our credit,” Stewart said, “that last play, it showed our resilience and how much better we became on defense.”
“Our guys battled,” said coach Kevin Baggett. “We didn’t always play
smart, but we battled on (the defensive) end, knowing that end is going
to win you games. Those guys were able to buckle down and get two stops
when we needed them.”
At halftime, it didn’t look like Rider (2-1), which has now won 12 of
the last 16 against Monmouth, was going to need a pair of game-saving
The Broncs built a 15-point lead at intermission by outscoring the
Hawks 21-0 from beyond the arc. Monmouth shot 0 of 7 on 3-pointers and 7
of 31 overall.
Then the giveaways started. Rider committed 16 second-half turnovers —
which Monmouth turned into 21 points — and all of a sudden it was a
In total, the Hawks scored 27 points off 28 Rider turnovers.
Dion Nesmith led Monmouth (1-2) with 15 points and Stephen Spinella added 13.
Thompson finished with 10 for the Broncs and Tommy Pereira matched a career high with nine on a trio of 3-pointers.
Marcus Ware’s layup with 1:12 left evened the game at 62.
On the Broncs’ ensuing trip, Lindsey (seven points) was fouled by Nesmith and made both free throws.
Defense then became the calling card.
“When we were on the free-throw line, I said I wanted to guard
(Steele),” the freshman Sadler said. “I knew down in crunch time, he was
going to make a move and try to score. I thought I could stay in front
of him and contain him. Make him make a play.”
Twenty-eight turnovers couldn’t stop the Broncs from making a last stand — or two.
“We definitely needed a game like this,” said Lindsey, who came in
averaging 21.5 points per game but got in early foul trouble. “It was a
total team effort. I pointed out every guy that picked it up for me.
That is something I expect. I’m not surprised by it. I don’t think our
coaching staff is surprised by it.
“If we have nights like this, which we will have, (Baggett) believes
he has a bunch of guys that can pick it up for myself or someone else if
they don’t have a good night.”
NOTES: Freshman forward Derrick Stewart missed his second straight
game (discipline). Baggett said he will return for the team’s four-game
road trip this week. … Monmouth was also in the giving spirit, turning
the ball over 17 times. … Freshman guard Jamal Nwaniemeka (Conwell-Egan)
got his first extended run, playing five minutes in the first half. …
The Broncs board a plane at 4:30 a.m. Sunday to fly to South Carolina
for the first game of the Hoops for Hope Classic. They also play at SMU
before heading to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for games against Jacksonville