LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J. – Once trailing by 18 points in the first half, Monmouth University rallied to force overtime on freshman Justin Robinson's (Lake Katrine, N.Y./Kingston) three-pointer with 1.8 seconds left in regulation, but Rider University connected on four free throws in the final 10.6 seconds of overtime to hold on for a 77-71 victory in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference action on Sunday afternoon.
Down 37-20 at the break, Monmouth opened the second half with a 17-4 run to get within 41-37 with 12:39 left on a Robinson trey, but the Broncs pushed the lead back to 56-43 at 6:27.
Behind a Deon Jones (Wilmington, Del./Sanford School/Towson) drive and another Robinson triple, MU climbed within 60-57 with 1:52 showing, before Daniel Stewart drained a three-pointer as the shot clock expired with 1:14 left to give RU a 63-57 advantage.
After each team hit a free throw, Andrew Nicholas (Wrightsville, Pa./Eastern York) connected on a three to pull MU within 64-61 with 20 seconds remaining. Following a pair of misses from the stripe by Rider, Monmouth called timeout with 9.1 left, which led to the Robinson game-tying trey from the top of the key.
In overtime, Monmouth tied the score twice following baskets from Jones, but Anthony Myles' three-point play with 1:34 left put the Broncs ahead for good, 71-68. Max DiLeo (Cinnaminson, N.J./Cinnaminson) connected on a three-pointer to get the Blue & White within 73-71 with 29.6 ticks left, but the Hawks were unable to get closer.
DiLeo and Collin Stewart (Glenville, N.Y./Mekeel Christian Academy) led four Hawks in double-figures with 12 points each, while Jones and Nicholas tallied 10 apiece. Robinson, who hit three three-pointers, added nine points, while Josh James (White Plains, N.Y./Archbishop Stepinac) notched seven points, six assists and four rebounds.
"Give Rider a lot of credit for coming out after a tough loss at Manhattan and taking it to us for 20 minutes," stated head coach King Rice. "Our kids continued to fight but we weren't able to get all the way back. We have to learn that you cannot spot a team 18 points and then keep counting on a comeback."
Nicholas’ drive had Monmouth within 7-2 with 16:37 left, while his three-pointer at 12:34 pulled the Hawks within 14-7. After James found Tyrone O'Garro (Newark, N.J./Saint Peter's Prep) for a lay-in, which made the score 14-9, the Broncs answered with a 17-4 run over 6:09 of action, to take a 31-13 lead with 5:00 left in the stanza.
Trailing 35-17 with 1:48 showing, the Hawks trimmed the deficit to 35-20 on Stewart’s drive and a DiLeo free throw, but Rider carried a 37-20 lead into the locker room.
Monmouth (10-11, 4-6 MAAC), which shot 58.6% (17-29) from the floor during its second half surge, including 8-of-14 from beyond the arc, outscored Rider 39-25 in the paint, but went 5-of-14 from the free throw line.
Rider (10-9, 6-4 MAAC) hit 11-of-28 from three-point range and 20-of-35 from the line, as Stewart tallied 21 points and Pereira added 20 on 6-of-7 from three-point range.
Monmouth returns to action on Thursday, January 30 when the Hawks travel to Marist College in MAAC action at McCann Arena at 7:00 p.m.
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