Vintage Rodney Pryor showed up Saturday night

Robert Morris went on the road and took down Fairleigh Dickinson Saturday night, in what proved to be a thrilling and important game.

Robert Morris, now sitting at 8-19 and 6-8 in NEC play, is in 8th place in the conference standings. They remain one game back of LIU-Brooklyn and St. Francis Brooklyn, the two opponents they play at home this weekend.

Saturday’s win was great for a multitude of reasons. Lee covers that a little more here, but I was most encouraged by two things: late defensive stops against the most efficient offense in the conference and Rodney Pryor.

Pryor was a dog out there, scoring 27 points, grabbing 14 boards and adding three assists and three steals. His 27 points came on 19 shots, including a 4-11 effort from three. He also went a perfect 7-7 from the free throw line.

Since returning from a concussion Jan. 23, Pryor had made a combined four three pointers in six games. In that stretch, Pryor was shooting 33 percent.

It wasn’t a fun time for Pryor, and by no means does his most recent performance mean he’s out of his funk, but I’d love to hear from his perspective what was going on. Was he still feeling off from the concussion or time off? Was he discouraged by the team’s attitude? Was it just a bad stretch?

Pryor is this team’s alpha dog, which is why that six-game stretch was scary. It wasn’t that he wasn’t shooting well, because that happens, it was the manner it was done. Prior to the concussion, the shooting guard had taken 11 shots or less in a game just twice all season. After returning, it happened in five straight games.

The Pryor that showed up Saturday night, the one who was uber aggressive from three and wanted the ball in big spots, was the one RMU needs moving forward. There’s no doubt that it’s been a trying year for everyone, including him. Last year, Pryor shot 42 percent from three. In retrospect, it’s not much of a surprise his percentages dropped with the losses of Marcquise Reed and Lucky Jones, but this year, he’s shooting just 29 percent from downtown. A 13 percent dip!

This team is going as far as Pryor takes them. Guys like Isaiah Still, Billy Giles and Matty McConnell are playing great ball, but it’s all for naught if Pryor doesn’t do the grunt work. This is one of the most inefficient offenses in the country. Pryor is their most skilled offensive player. It’s not hard to figure out.

If RMU gets the guy who showed up Saturday night, March could get much more interesting.

–Chris Cappella


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