Colonial Talk: RMU vs Wagner (MBB NEC Quarterfinal)

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Colonial Talk: RMU vs Wagner (MBB NEC Quarterfinal)

RMU shot its way to a semifinal berth in the NEC Tournament.

RMU shot its way to a semifinal berth in the NEC Tournament.

Kyle Gorcey

RMU shot its way to a semifinal berth in the NEC Tournament.

Kyle Gorcey

Kyle Gorcey

RMU shot its way to a semifinal berth in the NEC Tournament.

Zach Laufer, Copy Editor

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Final Score:   Robert Morris 91  Wagner 68

Top performers: 

F Lucky Jones (RMU) – 27 points, 2 rebounds

G Marcquise Reed (RMU) – 22 points, 5 assists, 3 steals

C Mike Aaman (Wagner) – 19 points, 8 rebounds

Takin’ it easy?: As fate would have it, Robert Morris defeated these Wagner Seahawks a mere six days ago, defeating them by a similar score of 91-59. So, there was obvious concern about the team thinking a win this time was pretty much guaranteed. When the game began with a quick old-fashioned three-point play, RMU head coach Andy Toole began to worry that it might be true: “I’m thinking to myself, ‘Okay, here we go. We’re in slow motion.’ But we bounced back.”

“I hate the way that this kinda played out to be honest with you, you know, playing [Wagner] so quickly after beating them last Thursday,” said Toole. “You do get concerned about complacency, just our team being 18 to 22 year old guys who say, ‘We just gotta show up and we can advance,’ but I was happy with the way we handled it and the energy that we played with to move on.”

Outside attack: The Colonials have lived and died via the three-point shot all season long, so why try something different? After a game like this to start the NEC Tournament, no one could argue against it. More impressive than the 12-of-20 made threes in the game is the clinic RMU put on in the second half to end up with 60 percent from beyond the arc, making an outstanding 7-of-8 from three-point land (87.5 percent).

“It’s tough to beat a team when they’re shooting that efficient from the field, 12-of-20 from three,” said Wagner head coach Bashir Mason. On the other end of the spectrum, Wagner connected on only three of their 13 attempts from deep.

“MO”mentum: Upon entering the Charles L. Sewall Center, fans attending this contest were given red Robert Morris shirts that read, “MO-mentum.” Boy, was that fitting. Each fan donning these encouraging T-shirts created a see of MO that Wagner just could not handle. Every time the lead crept under 10 points, a steal, and-one or a huge three-point shot turned woes into woo’s. In a pressure-filled playoff atmosphere, NEC Rookie of the Year Marcquise Reed was calm and collected.

“I mean, there’s no pressure at this point,” said Reed. “I just go out there and play my game regardless of anything. So, no matter the situation, I’m just gonna go out there and play.”

Can’t stop Lucky: A large proponent in the Colonials’ rout of Wagner in this quarterfinal match-up was senior guard/forward Lucky Jones. Jones was limited during the first 20 minutes, only to explode offensively in the second half. He scored a game-high 27 points, 18 coming in the second frame. With six minutes gone in the second half, Jones caught fire, connecting on three shots from outside the arc in a 1:20 span.

“It was a great feeling, you know, actually to see the ball go in multiple times in a row,” said Jones. “I credit my teammates, obviously, found me when I was open, and I was ready to shoot every time.” Jones finished shooting 8-of-12 from the floor, 5-of-6 from downtown.

Survive and conquer: “That Robert Morris team is really good, and they’re gonna go deep in this NEC Tournament,” said Wagner head coach Bashir Mason. “They have a great chance to win this thing.”

The Colonials next step on their march to the NEC Championship will take place Saturday at the Chuck to face the Bryant Bulldogs, coming off a thrilling double-overtime win over Sacred Heart.

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