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Welcome back to the Trentonian's Full-Court Press blog. Yes, we're still alive, and with the 2015-16 season rapidly approaching, it's time to fire up the old blog for another season. Check back here throughout the year for updates on all things Rider and Princeton, including coverage of both the MAAC and Ivy League. Feel free to drop me a line on twitter @kj_franko ( or email

Friday, December 6, 2013

RIDER RUNBACK: Game 7 — Rider 89, Monmouth 83

Danny Stewart scored 21 points, including 11 of 12 from the line. Photo by JOHN BLAINE

WEST LONG BRANCH — Three thoughts after Rider won its Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference opener over Monmouth Thursday night.

1. Seniors and free throws: Easily the difference in the game. Danny Stewart and Anthony Myles were brilliant for Rider (3-4-, 1-0) in the second half. The duo converted 14 straight points from the free-throw line after Monmouth (3-5, 0-1) tied the game at 61. In total, they scored 25 of the Broncs' final 28 points. Stewart connected on 10 in a row from the stripe and finished 11 of 12 for the game (Myles was 10 of 13). Stewart, in particular, has come a long way at the line. He's turned into a reliable free-throw shooter that you want on the line in a pressure situation.

2. Off to a good start: The MAAC has this scheduling quirk where it plays two league games in the middle of the non-conference. For a side like Rider, which has been inconsistent, early in the season, it's a chance to put some important wins in the bank. That's exactly what the Broncs did by hanging on for a victory against an opponent making its MAAC debut in front of a raucous crowd. "Very important," Myles said. "The first league game is always important to win. Even if we didn't win, we still got a lot to work on. We're not content with this win. We're still trying to take this next step."

3. Monmouth's prospects: The Hawks were picked to finish last in this their first season in the league, but they might be slightly better than that. They certainly got a boost from a strong home crowd Thursday night (took an early 15-3 lead) but couldn't hold on to that early advantage against a more experienced Rider squad. But if King Rice can get his kids to play hard at home, there will be wins available to them. Monmouth has some size inside, but the challenge for Rice's team is going to be defending opposing guards. In Justin Robinson, Josh James and Max DiLeo, the Hawks don't have big guards and in the MAAC that can be an issue.

Up Next: Quinnipiac. The Bobcats, also new to the league, are off to a 4-2 start and play their MAAC opener Friday night against Fairfield.


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