RMU housekeeping, NEC notes

Robert Morris lost to Youngstown State Wednesday night 65-58. RMU’s leading scorer was Rodney Pryor, who scored 20 points on 7-15 shooting. He was aided by nice games from Billy Giles (5 points, 9 boards) and freshman guard Matty McConnell (12 points on 4-12 shooting).

Nine of McConnell’s 12 points came in a 2:50 stretch in the middle of the second half. Unfortunately, the Colonials weren’t able to capitalize on the hot streak. Youngstown State was going bucket for bucket through almost every stretch.

The Penguins scored 34 points and shot 52.2 percent as a team in the second half. This was the sixth time this year RMU’s opponent has shot over 50 percent in the second half.

“We’re down six at the half, and our defensive intensity to start the second half just wasn’t there,” head coach Andy Toole said postgame. “We need to defend. Our guys can’t seem to grasp that each possession in a game is so important. One or two plays can be the difference between a win and a loss.”

Minutes breakdown
We’ve played eight games this season. Here are the guys getting the most playing time:

-G Rodney Pryor, 31.0 mpg
-F Elijah Minnie: 30.5 mpg
-G Isaiah Still: 29.0 mpg
-PG Kavon Stewart: 25.4 mpg (missed most of a game with an injury)
-SG Matty McConnell: 21.8 mpg (missed three games with an injury)
-F Billy Giles: 21.1 mpg
-F Andre Frederick: 17.9 mpg
-PG Jordan Lester: 16.9 mpg
-F Aaron Tate: 14.3 mpg (has only played three games with an injury)
-G Steven Whitley: 11.1 mpg
-F Conrad Stephens: one game where he logged three minutes (!!!)

The injuries to Matty McConnell and Kavon Stewart has probably given more minutes to the freshman Lester than almost anyone expected.. Steven Whitley’s minutes have really dipped since McConnell has returned from injury (was a DNP Wednesday)… Billy Giles is taking more of Frederick’s minutes… Isaiah Still has been everything RMU could have expected and then some.. Get healthy soon Aaron Tate… Stewart-Pryor-Still-Minnie-Frederick is RMU’s most commonly used lineup, per KenPom.

Around the NEC

Looking back, the RMU had it’s first three win night all season! I actually have no idea if that’s true, but it hasn’t been a lot of fun to be an NEC fan this season. Here’s how Wednesday broke down:

St. Francis Brooklyn (3-4) defeated Lafayette 69-62: Tyreek Jewell had 17 points in the win. Jewell still isn’t doing the one thing everyone expected him to do well, which is shoot the three ball, but he’s risen to the task of being the guy who steps in and tries to provide a scoring punch. Glenn Sanabria has struggled this season. 

St. Francis PA (3-3) defeated Lehigh 84-73: Lehigh stinks, but it was nice to see the Red Flash put up some points and win that game. Point guard Greg Brown is having a good season. Freshman big man Josh Nebo looks like he’s going to be pretty good one day. SFU lost to Maryland Friday night.

Wagner (3-2) defeated Morgan State 62-61: Romone Saunders made a free throw with four seconds left to help Wagner beat Morgan State. I like Dwaun Anderson this year. There, I said it. 

Looking ahead
Five teams, including Robert Morris, are in action on Saturday:

-Sacred Heart at Temple
-Loyola (Maryland) at Mount St. Mary’s
-Bryant vs. Brown
-Central Connecticut State at Fordham
-Robert Morris vs. Oakland

KenPom is predicting three wins for the conference in the next two days. He has Mount St. Mary’s and Bryant winning today (agreed!) and Wagner beating American tomorrow. I also like a little upset special on Sunday, with St. Francis Brooklyn taking down St. John’s. It’s doable.

That’s all for now.

–Chris Cappella
@C_Cappella

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