RMU vs Oakland

Game 11: Oakland (8-1) at Robert Morris (3-7)
When: Saturday, December 10th, 4pm
Where: Charles L. Sewall Center
KenPom: RMU 263, Oakland 124
KenPom line: Oakland -4
Link: NEC Front Row
Storyline: The Colonials look to build on an impressive win over Duquesne by taking down an Oakland team that has won eight of its first nine games.

Thoughts: The reward for picking up a won over cross town rivals? Back-to-back games vs teams combined 16-2, and a week of finals in between…I guess that was happening win or lose, so winning against Duquesne was a must.

First up, Oakland. The Grizzlies come in 8-1 but haven’t beaten anyone of major importance. Their big games are ahead of them, as they still have Michigan State and Georgia awaiting them, before they open conference play. That said, 8-1 is still 8-1, and it’s not like all those wins are against cupcakes.

They have gotten off to a good start on both sides of the ball, and rank just outside of the top 100 on both sides of the ball per-KenPom. The Grizz have three guys averaging over 13 points-per-game including Martez Walker, who’s scoring 19 per-game. Their balanced offensive attack will be priority number one for Robert Morris.

Momentum: Since starting 0-5, things have turned around for the Colonials. They have won three of five, and should have beaten YSU. In that time frame, they’ve beaten a very good Towson team on the road, and took down an A10 team on a neutral court. Can that momentum continue?

It’ll start on the defensive end. It always has for the Colonials. They’ll have to hold Oakland around 70 points or less to have a chance in my opinion. That’ll be a tough task, but RMU has been rolling on that end. One thing that would help? Cutting down on the silly fouls. I get that fouls will happen when you play aggressive man-to-man defense, but the ticky tack fouls, the silly reach-ins, the over the backs…those kill RMU, as teams get into the bonus early in the half. Not only does it allow them to score easy points, but it takes away from RMU’s aggressive nature because they have to avoid fouling.

Offensively, once again a lot will be on Isaiah Still’s shoulders. He has been fantastic so far this season, scoring 16 points-per-game, shooting 40 percent from three, and leads the team in usage percentage at 25 percent. He is by far the Colonials best offensive weapon.

Billy Giles is emerging as the other useful weapon on the offensive end. I wouldn’t be surprised if he got more time and touches today. He’s just behind Still in usage percentage, and has really refined his post game. His 67 percent FG percentage is by far best on the team, and he’s averaging 7.2 points-per-game but only playing 19 minutes-per-game. Last season he averaged 8 points-per-game, shot 60 percent from the field, but played 26 minutes-per-game.

Another player to watch? Freshman Clive Allen. Allen played a season high 23 minutes against Duquesne, scored a career high 11 points, dished out three assists including a sweet highlight reel ally-oop. Allen also played big time, crunch time, minutes and hit the game sealing free throws, going 4-4 in the final seconds.

We’ll see if the Colonials can pick up a nice win before they hit the books for a week.

–Lee Kunkel



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