Robert Morris ended a dreadful stretch of non-conference play by losing to Georgia 79-67 last night. It was a pretty tight game for about 31 minutes, with Georgia hitting some deep threes late to break away.
What the box score said:
-Robert Morris shot 3-24 from three last night. Three of twenty-four. That’s 12.5 percent from three, in case anyone was wondering.
-Rodney Pryor: 8-20, 22 points, eight rebounds, four steals, one block and one assist.
-RMU’s starting lineup: Stewart-McConnell-Still-Pryor-Giles
-Kavon Stewart had 14 points, four assists, four rebounds, two steals and just one turnover in 33 minutes of action. He shot 4-10 from the field and 6-7 from the line. As a team, Robert Morris went 20-30 from the charity stripe, which is pretty bad. But at least they got there!
-Two very telling stats: Robert Morris had just eight assists on 22 made baskets. Georgia had 23 assists on 31 made baskets. That’s a team that was patient, moved the ball and got good looks because of it. The Bulldogs shot 54.4 percent from the field and held RMU to 37.9 percent. Tough to win that way.
-Besides, you know, actually scoring, the Colonials did a lot well. Georgia had just a 34-33 rebounding margin, but RMU had 14 offensive boards to their nine. RMU forced 15 turnovers while just committing 12. These are small positives to build on.
What we learned:
-Rodney Pryor was simply fantastic last night. He did shoot 0-7 from three, but it was the way he adjusted from those misses that was so impressive. He completely abandoned the three point shot, instead using a step back and ball screens to get enough space for his mid-range game. It’ll be a shame if RMU doesn’t take advantage of the year he’s having.
-Most of the time, I’m not on the bandwagon that this team simply “doesn’t care” or is “lazy”. I just don’t see it. They played hard last night. But there are still times where a lack of hustle kills them when it hurts the most.
With 12 seconds left in the half, Elijah Minnie hit a three to cut Georgia’s lead to seven. Georgia inbounded the ball, took advantage of Robert Morris not hustling back and hit a three as the defense was scrambling. Isaiah Still even committed a foul on the shot, making it a four point play. Instead of being down seven at half, RMU was down 11. Big difference, and it all stemmed from a lack of hustle.
-I’m hoping someone on the beat asks this, because I would love to hear who the coaches and players think has been the best defensive player this year. Matty McConnell was extremely persistent at the top of the zone.
Offensively, I think everyone is just kind of waiting for McConnell to find another gear. He’s been really nothing more than a spot-up three point shooter. For someone who averaged 31 points per game in the WPIAL last year, there’s got to be more. RMU needs it.
-Steven Whitley played nine mostly-productive minutes. That’s a perfect number for him. Off the top of my head, I can remember one bad offensive possession where he drove to the lane, bulled over a defender and committed a turnover, but he also hit a three, dished out an assist and didn’t screw up on defense.
Whitley is getting better every game. The progress might be painfully slow at times, but it’s clear it’s happening. That can’t be said for everyone.
-Andre Frederick: zero rebounds in 17 minutes. Come. On.
-Andy Toole had some fans in the stands last night:
I wonder if Ryan or Colin gets picked first overall in the 2033 NBA draft?
There’s plenty more to add, but it will all get touched on before conference play starts Saturday.