There's something to be said by experience, and that lesson was reinforced with Rider's 71-60 victory over Monmouth in a first-round men's MAAC tournament game Thursday evening.
Monmouth has a nice collection of youthful talent, but it's also one of the youngest teams in the league.
Rider has veteran players, including three seniors in the starting lineup whie the Hawks have three freshmen starters.
Rider coach Kevin Baggett reminded his team of the difference prior to the game.
"I wrote on our lockerroom chalkboard that we had eight players on our roster with MAAC tournament experience and that Monmouth had none," explained Baggett.
That's partially because Monmouth just moved to the MAAC this season, but also because three of its starters are first year college players, as are five other players on its roster.
"We talked to our guys about having that experience, about having been there before" added Baggett. "We told them they needed to step up, and our guys did. They did a good job of showing up."
The best came after Monmouth appeared on the verge of pulling away, creating an eight-point bulge, 46-38 with 11:19 left in the game.
And, then, the Broncs (14-16 overall this season) went on a 33-14 surge after that.
Senior forward Daniel Stewart had 10 of his game-high 25 points in the final 11 minutes, and senior guard Anthony Myles added nine in that stretch.
"It's our first year in this league and we had a lot of young, young guys," admitted Monmouth coach King Rice. "We'll get better. We know we have to get stronger and we have to shoot foul shots better."
But, getting to the line -- a sign of a veteran team -- was also done better by the Broncs.
Rider shot 24-of-31 from the foul line in the game while Monmouth made just 13-of-17 free throws.
Rider advances to Saturday's 6:30 p.m. quarterfinal round contest against No. 2 seed Manhattan.
Monmouth finishes its first season of play in the MAAC with an 11-21 overall record.