Colonial Talk: Strong finish helps Robert Morris defeat Rider

Matt Kurtik

Robert Morris men’s basketball notched their fifth win in their home opener Wednesday night against the Rider Broncs at PPG Paints Arena. The Colonials defeated the Broncs 78-75 to bring their overall record to 5-4.

Here are a few takeaways from today’s match-up versus Rider.

Freshmen showed up: Freshmen Jon Williams and Koby Thomas both shined in their home debut. Jon Williams scored 10 points and led the Colonials with eight assists and 37 minutes. Koby Thomas led all scorers with 20 points, while shooting 7-for-11 from the field and converting all five of his free throws. The 6’6” forward scored 13 points in the second half.

The Colonials also got some scoring help from freshmen Charles Bain and Chris Coalmon. They scored eight points and nine points, respectively, and shot a combined 4-for-7 from three-point range. With freshman players scoring 47 of the 78 points scored, the Colonials can find themselves in a good position to make a run in the Northeast Conference season.

With only two of nine players playing tonight being upperclassmen, young guys must continue to step up for the Colonials.

Live and die by the 3: Robert Morris shot 8-for-17 from three-point in the first half Wednesday night. With this, the Colonials were able to lead the Broncs for almost 17 minutes in the first half. While shooting looked like a bright spot for the Colonials in the first half, the second half contradicted the first-half success. Shooting has never been a strong point for the Colonials in recent years, and Coach Andy Toole confirmed that.

“We don’t hit eight threes in weeks, let alone one half. I think we got a little greedy,” Toole stated on the Colonials’ successful shooting in the first half.

Robert Morris finished the night 11-for-27 from behind the arc in what looked to be a successful night initially.

A bright spot for the Colonials was also their 13-for-18 shooting from the free-throw line.

Rebounding is a problem: The Broncs proved that they had the size advantage as they outrebounded the Colonials 47-33. Rider also grabbed 21 offensive rebounds, allowing the Broncs to outscore the Colonials 19-2 in second-chance points.

Of the 10 players that saw minutes Wednesday night for Rider, only one player was shorter than 6’3”. This height advantage hurt the Colonials on the glass and forced Robert Morris to score on fast breaks.

Even with a young and smaller team, Robert Morris was able to block five shots, with Petteway leading with three.

Hot potato: The Colonials had 20 assists on the 27 made baskets Wednesday night. Freshman Jon Williams led the Colonials with eight assists and junior Matty McConnell and sophomore Dachon Burke had six and five, respectively.

The terrific ball movement in the first half allowed the Colonials to find open three-point shots. The Colonials were able to get more assists than turnovers during the game, and that is a significant improvement from last year’s season.

Too many dry spells: Robert Morris ended the last 2:37 of the first half without a field goal. With such a dominant start to the game, the Colonials, unfortunately, let the Broncs gain momentum going into halftime to bring the game to 44-44.

Rider also started the second half on a 12-4 run through the first seven minutes. If the Colonials want to continue to win, they must learn to limit dry spells during the games. Fortunately for the Colonials, they were able to regroup and finish the game with a three-point win.

With a win tonight, the young Colonials seem to work well together as a team, and that should be helpful as the NEC season kicks into gear on Dec. 29.