RMU drops season opener to Penn, 67-50


Photo credit: Michael Evans

Rashad Christian

In the season and home opener for the Robert Morris University men’s basketball team, RMU looked to kick off the season strong but was unable to do so, as the Penn Quakers walked away with the 67-50 victory.

Penn forward AJ Brodeur played extremely well inside the hostile Charles L. Sewall Center. He finished with 23 points, 11 rebounds, two blocks and shot 11-for-14 from the floor.

Paired with Brodeur was guard Matt Howard who coupled Brodeur’s double-double with one of his own. Howard ended the contest with 15 points and 10 rebounds while shooting 50 percent from the field.

The assumed-to-be leader for Robert Morris was especially quiet in senior guard Kavon Stewart. He finished the game with just three points and four assists. It was evident that Penn was not going to allow Stewart to get hot, as the Quakers played a 3-2 zone to start off the game.

This strategy seemed to get in the heads of the home team. By the end of the first half, Stewart got off only three shots and made none of them.

Although, Stewart put his struggles solely on himself, saying what the Quakers attempted to do defensively had little to do with his performance. “They didn’t really do anything to stop (me), shots just weren’t falling,” Stewart said.

Stewart wasn’t the only one affected by Penn’s tough defense. At the end of the first half, the Colonials were shooting just 25 percent (8-for-32) compared to Penn’s 11-for-24 performance.

As a team, Robert Morris just couldn’t knock down enough shots. Eleven different players played significant minutes, but only two of them — Braden Burke and Billy Giles — shot over 50 percent.

Head coach Andy Toole commented on the sub par field goal percentage. “I thought we came out with good energy and tried to compete, but when shots didn’t go in the basket, our energy level dropped,” Toole said.

Along with shooting struggles, RMU had several new faces seeing Division I play for the first time. Those players included forwards Burke and Roberto Mantovani. Both players contributed moderately to the efforts. Mantovani added six points and six rebounds while the freshman Burke put up eight points and two rebounds.

RMU will now head on the road for a six-game stretch. Its next home game will be on Nov. 30 against Youngstown State.