Thursday night, Robert Morris lost by 21 for a national TV audience at Mount St. Mary’s. While the final score probably isn’t indicative for the overall competitiveness of the game, a 20 point loss is still a 20 point loss.
There were some positives from that game. Billy Giles found his touch around the rim again, the Colonials ran some nice pick and roll, freshman Isaiah Still showed flashes of someone who is going to be a very good player in this league and Matty McConnell showed that aggression at the rim we’ve all been waiting for.
Obviously, there were a lot more negatives than positives. The Colonials shot a whopping 1-14 from three, with the only make coming from walk-on Anthony Pugh (#TeamPugh) as time was winding down. Robert Morris also lost the offensive rebounding margin 15-8 and committed 20 turnovers.
The most concerning thing was the performance of RMU’s “big 3”, the three guys the Colonials will be counting on most to create and deliver offense. Here’s the combined stat sheet for Rodney Pryor, Kavon Stewart and Elijah Minnie:
-16 points on 3-17 shooting, 0-7 from three, nine rebounds, four assists and eight turnovers.
Today’s game against St. Francis PA is a big one, for a lot of reasons. RMU is 4-5 in conference play. There are four other teams also at 4-5, jockeying for position in the conference standings. St. Francis PA is 5-4, so a win today would even things up. Also, a win keeps RMU within striking distance of Wagner and Fairleigh Dickinson, who both sit at 6-3.
Also, who doesn’t want to beat St. Francis? They’re like that annoying little cousin you’re forced to hang out with on Christmas.
To get that win, RMU is really going to need Pryor, Minnie and Stewart to find another gear to their games. Minnie’s game Thursday was especially confusing. For someone as big, athletic and skilled as he is, he looked… disinterested? I’m not sure, but it was weird. He took just three shots the whole game. He grabbed just one rebound.
Pryor still seems to be feeling the affects of his concussion. In his two games since returning, he’s shot just 3-10 from the floor. He’s getting to the line a lot, which is good, but RMU obviously needs more. He was an automatic 20 points before his injury, which is what the Colonials need. Hell, if that means taking 20 shots, I’m all for it. I hope we see a much more aggressive Pryor today.
And, like I’ve been saying for the better part of two years now, this team will go as Kavon Stewart goes. He needs to protect the ball and find his teammates for good looks, along with finishing a little himself.
Robert Morris has a dreadfully inefficient offense to begin with. Their 90.6 points-per-100-possessions ranks among the worst 15 offenses in the country. Without those three firing on all cylinders, RMU can’t even be an average offense. St. Francis is not a good defensive team, ranking second-worst in the conference at defensive efficiency.
The classic immovable object versus unstoppable force.
This is a winnable game for the Colonials, but not without Pryor, Minnie and Stewart playing to their potential.