LAWRENCEVILLE — Danny Stewart knew he had to play better. There wasn’t really that much more to it.
Stewart, who scored just five points in the loss against Stony
Brook, was called out by coach Kevin Baggett in the postgame press
conference for not doing enough.
“I challenge myself,” said Stewart, who scored a game-high 18
points as Rider held on to beat Monmouth Saturday afternoon. “I had a
bad game against Stony Brook. We need a post presence, and I felt like,
if we’re going to win, we need to score in the paint.”
The junior from Philadelphia delivered eight straight points during a
stretch of the second half when the Broncs we’re scrapping to stay in
front of the Hawks, who erased a 15-point halftime deficit.
“I felt like I had a mismatch,” said Stewart, who raised his
average to 11.3 points per game. “I didn’t care if the guy was bigger
than me because I could take it to the basket, get fouled and score. I
just didn’t care. I needed to score and give my team a cushion.”
Stewart’s performance picked up the slack for leading scorer Nurideen
Lindsey, who got in foul trouble and finished with just seven points.
“We got Danny to play how we believe Danny can play,” said Lindsey,
who still managed to knock down 3 of 4 clutch free throws. “He picked it
up big time. (Saturday) he was the player we know he can be all year.”
Lindsey also praised guard Zedric Sadler. The freshman blocked a
3-point attempt that would have given Monmouth the lead with less than a
minute to go.
“There are a lot of things expected out of him,” Lindsey said.
“There’s a lot of pressure on him and I think he picked it up.”
Sadler said he didn’t feel the pressure of being on the floor in
crunch time. But he did acknowledge that it’s going to help him later in
“It gets me that experience,” he said.
Baggett also knows he’s going to be counting on youngsters like Sadler.
“I think they can only get better from it,” the coach said. “These
guys are growing as it is. It’s only three games in, but they’re
understanding that every team is going to come at you and give you their
Rider (2-1) begins a four-game road trip Monday night with a chance
to upset an SEC opponent when it faces South Carolina (2-0).