Robert Morris pretty much played a carbon copy of the previous seven games before this one, and the result was another loss. RMU is now 1-7, losing to the worst team they’ll play before January 2 when conference play begins.
Ugly times, ugly times indeed. Unlike last year, RMU did a pretty good job defensively, limiting YSU to 8-25 from three. Also, Bobby Hain (14 points, seven boards) was good but not Jahlil Okafor good, so that was nice. Last year, RMU gave up 89 points to the Penguins at home, so I guess any type of capable, breathing body was going to benefit the defense.
RMU was leading 10-9 early and, like they have most of this season, went into a deep lull offensively and defensively. The Penguins went on an 11-0 run and really didn’t look back the rest of the game. RMU went on some runs, but you can almost always count on this group to shoot themselves in the foot, and that’s what they did.
Overall, it resulted in a 65-58 loss. Thoughts:
-I wonder if at any point, anyone on the floor thought, ‘hm, maybe we shouldn’t have four guys standing on the perimeter just to jack up threes or dump it inside to Andre Frederick.” The offense tonight was complete garbage, full of jump shots, jump shots and more jump shots. Just when it looked like something good might happen, a jump shot took place, and I went back to kicking my dogs down the stairs. I’ve seen better offense at the YMCA.
RMU turned the ball over 14 times (forced eight), grabbed eight offensive boards (YSU had 11) and took just six free throws. The rebounding numbers aren’t bad just by the sheer size of Youngstown State but everything else, once again, is just pretty unacceptable. YOU HAVE TO GET TO THE LINE AND TAKE SOME FREE THROWS EVERY ONCE IN AWHILE.
Last year, when RMU was slumping offensively, Marcquise Reed would just go into “fuck this” mode and drive relentlessly to the basket. Karvel Anderson was similar in his aggression. No one on this team is at that level, but it doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be tried.
-It’s game eight now. Anyone who isn’t sick and tired of the same mistakes is much more patient than I. I was never known for my patience, however.
-With under a minute left in the first half, Rodney Pryor (20 points, 7-15 shooting) had the ball in the corner, got his defender to leave his feet, and finished in traffic with his left off the glass. Fast forward to later in the game when RMU was down seven and Pryor again had the ball at the top of the key. He leans into his defender and takes an ugly three that misses by a ton.
This is what we like to call a microcosm. That small sample perfectly sums up exactly who Pryor and RMU are offensively: a bunch of dudes who are athletic enough to get to the rim, might not be the most confident in their abilities to do so, and settle for ugly three point jumpers. Taking free throws and driving to the rim are SO important to a competent offensive team. RMU is not a competent offensive team because they lack these qualities.
-Hey man, I’m just saying maybe RMU should try and take more than six free throws. I’m not sure if anyone has picked that up yet.
-I like Billy Giles. He just moves so well on offense and works hard on the boards. I think he’ll be better than most forwards in the NEC because of these things.
–Matty McConnell had his first heat check game, scoring 12 points on 4-12 shooting. He went through a nice stretch where he hit a cluster of three’s to keep RMU in it in the second half. McConnell, like everyone else on the team, will benefit a little more when he does more than just stand at the three point line. Good confidence booster for him though.
That’s about all I’ve got. It’s a frustrating start to the season. Really, the only positive has been “well at least the NEC stinks.” Sports: sometimes fun, most of the time not at all.