Game 3 recap: "I think Bucknell just got another basket in transition"

Robert Morris played a basketball game tonight and, well, it didn’t go so great. RMU once again helped dig their proverbial 14 foot grave with awful, awful turnovers and just the worst transition defense anyone has ever seen.
Contrarily, they were able to go on mini-spurts of runs by just not being so dumb. It’s amazing the good that comes when guys remember how to play normal basketball. Little things, like not dribbling into three defenders, plays a large role into that. Communication on defense was also a huge problem.
RMU was able to cut the lead to three with under two minutes left. Hell, with :45 seconds left Kavon Stewart was flying to the basket with a chance to cut it to one. Alas, it did not go and things were not meant to be. It’s hard to win basketball games when you don’t play a full of 40.
RMU is 0-3 for the first time since 2010 after Wednesday’s 81-76 loss. Some additional thoughts:
-Kavon Stewart was pretty good tonight. Yinz know #3 is my guy right? I never panicked after two bad games to start the year. Nope. No panic. No second thoughts.
He had 14 points on 4-9 shooting (6-9 from the free throw line!), six assists, three rebounds, two steals and two turnovers. An all around really good game for the junior, especially in the early going. He was always there to steady the ship when things were getting wobbly.
Stewart’s free throw rate is starting to become a thing I think sticks. He still has no right hand around the rim, but when he does go right he’s able to contort his body into a pretzel, still finish with the left, and draw a foul because of the misconfiguration.
Do I wish he wouldn’t have tried to draw so much contact with :45 seconds in the game? Yes, but there’s much, much more that led to this loss. Such as…
-Transition defense! I’m not sure if guys are out of shape or don’t give a single shit about running back on defense, but I hope that all changes really, really soon. It’s embarrassing to watch. Inexperience is not an excuse for simply running back on defense. Make a basket? Get back on defense. Miss a basket? Get back on defense. Turn the ball over? Guess what… get back on defense.
-There was also a tonnnnn of sloppy nonsense on the defensive end. Giving up free points is bad, but this is bad in its own way. A few times in the second half, RMU left one of the best three point shooting teams in the country WIDE open for looks. Bucknell had a bald guy banging three’s everywhere. I thought I was watching a YMCA game. 
I think a lot of this will be solved with more communication, which will come with more court time. I’d have to watch the film for more specifics, but I can think of several examples where RMU deployed random double teams on ball handlers and low post entries, which led to some killer baskets. I have faith that gets figured out.
-One thing I’m losing faith in: Andre Frederick. I hate to harp on one guy, but he is having an undesirable start to the season. When he’s in iso situations, offensively and defensively, bad things are happening. A revolving door could turn the corner on him in the low post right now.
You would think that with someone that big, he could block a shot by accident, but that hasn’t been the case. Even his one shining moment, a wide open YAM off a beautiful feed from Rodney Pryor, was disappointing after he got T’d up for hanging on the rim.
I’ll give Dre some credit: he battled through an awful start to make some big plays. He finished with 10 points on 5-7 shooting, but still has to make an impact on the boards and defensively. Tonight was a baby step in the right direction, but in the right direction indeed.
-Some weird Lester-Whitley-Still-Giles lineups out there. Kinda funny to see a whole crop of new players out there looking like chickens with their heads caught off. Actually, that’s probably a bad analogy because that would require running. RMU doesn’t run much.
Aaron Tate appeared to reaggravate his left leg injury. He didn’t play in the second half. Obviously, Tate opposed to Giles (who I actually like) or Frederickis a huge difference. He’s never out of position. Those other guys always are.
-This is what life without Marcquise Reed and Lucky Jones is like when Rodney Pryor has an off night. He had a corner three go off the side of the backboard. There were times where RMU couldn’t buy a bucket, and a large part of that was because Pryor was off and no one had a damn clue what to do. A lot of his teammates have never played with him during an off night.
RMU really settled down when they killed Bucknell with Stewart-Minnie pick and pop. That helped lead to some penetration and impressive ball movement. Isaiah Still (13 points, 4-8 shooting, 3-6 from three) was the main beneficiary of that. In a way, Pryor was too. Guys playing competent around him took the pressure off.
Elijah Minnie: still really good. Isn’t it funny that the top of the scouting report isn’t “DON’T LEAVE ALONE AT THE THREE POINT LINE IN PICK AND ROLL!!!!”? He did a good job of dominating the glass, hitting from three and getting his teammates involved. He still does like three stupid things a game but god damn I am excited for Elijah Minnie.
RMU is off again until Sunday. They’ll play a good Air Force team. Lots to work on.
–Chris Cappella

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