Preview: Mans Game Only

Robert Morris (3-14, 1-3) vs. Mount St. Mary’s (6-11, 3-1)
When: Thursday, Jan. 14 at 7:00 p.m.
Where: Charles L. Sewall Center, Moon Township, PA
KenPom: RMU 271, Mount St. Mary’s 267
KenPom Line: RMU -3
Storyline: Robert Morris looks to steady the ship and stay in the NEC race as they take on rival Mount St. Mary’s at the Chuck. The Colonials, 1-3 in the league, could fall three games behind the conference’s top teams with a loss. This game is the front end of back-to-back home game against teams with a current record of 3-1 in the NEC (the other being FDU, Saturday at 4pm).

Bring It: Toughness, consistency and attention to detail: Andy Toole probably mutters these words in his sleep. It’s been the Colonials Achilles heel all season long. When such big factors are against you, you tend to come up short most games. Robert Morris is 3 and 14. Look at most of the scores…RMU is right there. They lost their first two games by a combined seven points (and led most of the game vs Sacred Heart) and were down only three points with under a minute to go against St. Francis. They still have yet to put together a full 40 minute game, and it’s cost them dearly.

The team is certainly young, and has been banged up (news came out this week that senior Aaron Tate, the teams MVP last year, may take a medical redshirt and miss the rest of the season) but it’s now mid-January. It’s time to toughen up, and get things straightened out. Talent is not the issue. RMU has one of the conferences best players in Rodney Pryor, one of the best forwards in Elijah Minnie, and a very good veteran point guard in Kavon Stewart. The supporting cast is not as talented as years past, but it is still formidable.

So what remedy can the Colonials find to fix such a problem? How about a punch you in the mouth game against a hated rival? It could be just what the doctor ordered.

(Side note: Bring the heat Colonial Crazies. Let’s not forget these 2014 comments by the Mount color man.)

Keys to the Game:

1) Get some easy buckets. If there is one ray of hope on the horizon, it’s the continued good play from Kavon Stewart. He’s been asked to do a lot more this season, and is starting to carry his weight. He’ll be under attack against the pressure defense of MSM, but has shown in the past he can break it and get RMU some easy buckets in transition. The Colonials sure do need it too, as they rank 325th in offense efficiency this season. Ouch.

2) Rebound. Gotta grab the ball and limit second chance opportunities. It cost the Colonials a game Saturday in Brooklyn.

3) Finish. Whether it’s Rodney Pryor getting hot, Elijah Minnie carrying the team, to someone else stepping up as the game comes down to the wire, someone needs to step up and help Robert Morris finish strong. I won’t say this is a must win, because even at 3-14, it’s hard to have “must win” games this early in the season in a one bid league. Still, the team really needs this one, if only for a major confidence boost. Who’s going to step up?

–Lee Kunkel


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