Dr. James Naismith is credited for inventing the game of basketball in 1891. About five years later, the first college basketball game is played. In 1939, we have the NCAA tourney.
It wasn’t until 1986 that NCAA universally adopted a three point line. If this year’s Robert Morris team traveled time and played a pre-1986 game, things might be going a little better. Unfortunately, they’re not, and their record is showing it.
This past weekend, Robert Morris lost at Mount St. Mary’s by 21 and at St. Francis (PA) by 12. In those two games, the Colonials shot a combined 5 of 38 from three (13.1 percent) while their opponents went 22 of 46 (47.8 percent).
This really goes without saying, but the three ball just dammed the Colonials all weekend. Each time RMU needed a big shot to make a legitimate run at the game, they couldn’t do it. There’s no better example of this than the Robert Morris and Mount St. Mary’s game last week.
The Colonials cut a 20 point deficit to 12 with 10 minutes remaining. After getting a stop, RMU could have really shifted the momentum of the game with a three, but instead threw the ball out of bounds and gave up a three to Will Miller on the ensuing possession. A chance to cut the game to single digits turned into another gut wrenching blow.
The St. Francis game was just a barrage of threes. St. Francis hit there’s and Robert Morris wasn’t able to got tit for tat. The Red Flash scores 1.2 points-per-possession, much higher than RMU’s defensive average.
One disturbing trend Robert Morris has been unable to solve: letting good shooters get into rhythm. Last weekend was a perfect example of that. Ben Millaud-Meunier, shooting 40 percent from three on the year and 50 percent in conference play, hit his first two en route to an 8-15 shooting night from beyond the arc.
Mount St. Mary’s Will Miller, perhaps the most pure shooter in the conference, went 4-7 from three against the Colonials.
This isn’t some new trend. Hell, just off the top of my head, I remember Toole talking about this in the postgame against Oakland, after Max Hooper torched RMU on an 8-17 shooting night.
That’s one of the more disturbing trends. RMU might not be a talented team, but there’s no excuse for just being ignorant to the scouting report. Guys on the floor have to know who the shooters are and where they are.
As for the offensive struggles, it’s tough to say things will turn around. Pryor hasn’t gotten going from three yet, Minnie has had a hard time getting his shot off, McConnell is a freshman who does freshman things and everyone else… well… can’t shoot all too well.
As a team, Robert Morris is shooting 29.3 percent from three, according to KenPom. That ranks them 336th in the country. RMU’s offensive efficiency overall is 337th in the country. Think these things aren’t correlated?