Recap: Back by unpopular demand

Robert Morris won a basketball game! A real, live basketball game against another collegiate basketball team in the 2015-16 season. That gives Robert Morris two wins on the season, opposed to the nine losses. But hey, a win’s a win and there will probably be around 30-35 more of those coming when you factor in RMU’s Final Four run.

Lehigh’s best player, center Tim Kempton, was in a walking boot and was unable to play tonight. Unfortunate for the game of basketball, along with Lehigh who is now 1-8 and probably wanted to win, but good news for Robert Morris.

The game itself was a weird back and forth affair, mixed with lots of moments where it looked like Robert Morris might win by 20 followed by just as many where you wanted to get so blindly drunk nothing else mattered in the world.

RMU ended up winning 69-67. It wasn’t pretty. In fact, Lehigh had the ball with a chance to win, but instead got called for a travel. More thoughts/analysis/nonsense below:

-My son, Kavon Stewart, played his best game of the season. By a lot. It was so fun to watch! He finished with a very respectable 11 points on 4-8 shooting, including 1-1 from three. Shortly after Lehigh tied the game, Stewart finished things with the game-winning bucket with 1:08 left. It was exactly the type of tough left-handed floater in traffic we’re all hoping to see more.

The four turnovers were a little much, but none of them felt back breaking over the course of the game. I also thought he would have had more than four assists, just because it felt like every time he touched the ball he was leaving it by putting his teamates in good position.

-My stepson Billy Giles was also excellent tonight. Just another typical game for him: six points on 3-5 shooting. The two rebounds were a little low, but still an overall good job. His soft touch around the rim is very encouraging. I love the way he moves without the ball and finds soft spots in defenses.

Giles also added two blocks and two steals to the stat line.

-Rodney Pryor had the game high 20 points on 8-14 shooting. He was 2-6 from three. He also led the team in rebounds (six) and assists (five). So, pretty much, he’s superman.

Not much to add about Pryor at this point. He’s one of the better pure shooters this school has ever had, is an underrated rebounder and could really use a Robin to his Batman.

-I’m not going to lie, I seriously thought things kind of clicked for RMU defensively at one point. They were flying all around the zone. The closeouts were sharp and quick. It was like watching RMU teams of old.

Things, of course, did not end that way. RMU was up double digits a few times in this game and let Lehigh back in it with just lazy defense. These guys make running down the floor look like a marathon sometimes.

The end of game offense was equally as bad as the end of game defense, another big reason why RMU blew a 10 point lead to a 1-8 team without their best player at home. The final five minutes was full of 28 foot contested jump shots. At one point, Elijah Minnie attempted a 360 leg kick fadeaway, a la Dirk Nowitzki. He airballed.

-I am not a fan of Andre Frederick. His second half was better than his first, but things just are no fun when he’s on the floor.

-Steven Whitley sighting! He didn’t play bad at all today, dishing for two assists and constantly attacking the rim. He played his best game of the season. I’ve been hard on Whitley, but I do think there’s been progression these past few games.

-With Kempton out, RMU didn’t let Austin Price kill them, which is a step in the right direction. They also bottled up point guard Kahon Ross, who scored 14 points, but wasn’t able to get his teammates as involved as he usually does.

I’m glad Robert Morris won. Winning is good. However, it doesn’t mean there’s a lot to work on. More on that over the next few days. Duquesne on Saturday!! That’ll be fun (maybe).

–Chris Cappella


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