Robert Morris got elusive win number one when they beat Mississippi Valley State University (0-7) 67-64 Saturday night.
A win is certainly nice. It’s better to have a lot to correct things knowing you still walked away with more points than the opponent. It’s all about positive vibes here peeps.
Things to like
-Isaiah Still is a baller. Ten points, seven boards, three dimes… all good! He’s had a really strong start to the season. He’s at 35 percent from three and 40 percent from the floor. If the three point numbers dip a little bit for more shots at the rim, I’m good with that too (more on that in the future).
-Have a road trip Billy Giles. He seems to move well in the offense and at least cares about rebounding. Is he too small to anchor the center of the zone? In non-conference play, probably, but he’s doing all he can now. Effort can’t be taken for granted.
-Jordan Lester filled in for an injured Kavon Stewart and wasn’t terrible. It’s tough for a freshman backup to just kind of be thrown into that role unexpectedly, but he answered the bell. He finished with seven points (3-5 shooting), four boards, four assists and three turnovers. His lack of defense is concerning, but floor time is a good way to learn those things.
-Rodney Pryor’s rebounding has been a godsend. He grabbed 12 boards last night. This is important because no one else really rebounds. Yes, RMU took advantage (kind of) against one of the smallest teams in all of college basketball, but it’ll have to improve overall.
Things that weren’t so great
-25 turnovers. Twenty-five! Just an awful amount. Maybe RMU was a little thrown off by MVSU’s defensive pressure, especially with no Kavon Stewart, but regardless 25 makes me want to vomit. So much of it could be avoided. Moving screens and travels are a great example of that.
-I’d like to see a little more aggression out of Rodney Pryor in the second half of games. Last night felt like a game he should have taken over. Maybe he wasn’t feeling it (he did shoot 0-5 from three) but went 4-6 in the second half.
Example! Pryor tipped in a basket with 13:09 to play in the game. He didn’t even attempt another shot until there was 1:53 left. If we want to dig deeper, his last jump shot before that came with 16:25 to play. Pryor is the teams best player, so the more the offense runs through him, the better.
Sometimes being “the man” is tough. Hell, I remember sitting through Andy Toole press conferences where he was urging Karvel Anderson to shoot more towards the end of games. Once that switch flips, look out. Also, that can be on his teammates just as much as it is him. Run him off screens and find him. Pryor is the alpha-male on the team.
Of course, he did hit the go-ahead bucket with 45 seconds left, so that’s good. The point is a few more of those shots in the middle of the game can hopefully help RMU imploding and avoiding these tight games.
-Elijah Minnie had a really rough game, shooting just 1-4, taking one three, grabbing just five boards and committing six turnovers. Disappointing game from him, again considering MVSU’s tallest player was 6-foot-6.
I wonder, moving forward, if teams who employ a man-to-man defense do guard him with smaller guys who can slide with Minnie, and save bigger defenders for the likes of Giles and Pryor. Pryor hasn’t shown a consistent ability (or want) to get to the rim. Why let Minnie beat you with the one thing he’s really good at, which is standing at the three point line off pick and roll? Instead, throw a small forward on him who can close out a little quicker and make him beat you other ways
His performance was probably more just being discouraged by six turnovers. We’ll see.
-Kavon Stewart is apparently battling an ankle injury. He played just five minutes Saturday. Say what you want about Stewart, but the drop off between him and every other guard is significant, especially defensively. Aaron tate, who is going to solve a LOT of problems when he comes back, was a DNP again. Don’t hod your breath on him returning soon.
-Andre Frederick man. Two rebounds? C’mon. That’s so soft.
I’m going to dive in more on RMU’s free throw numbers. Last night was a good start (14-18 from the line) but this teams overall aggression is not good.