Sloppy play spoils Colonials’ home opener

Kavon+Stewart+going+up+for+shot+in+their+most+recent+home+match+up+against+Bucknell+back+in+2015

Dylan McKenna

Kavon Stewart going up for shot in their most recent home match up against Bucknell back in 2015

The Robert Morris men’s basketball team dropped their home opener in front of a full crowd at the Charles L. Sewall Center, 81-76, against the Bucknell Bison, failing to keep pace with the Bison’s fast paced offense.

When trying to find out what happened to the now 0-3 Colonials,the number that says it all is 19 — seconds that is.

This minuscule number was the amount of time in the entire 40-minute game in which Robert Morris held the lead. A one-point lead which was held a mere two minutes into the game. From there on out, Bucknell went on to take leads as big as 15 points as the Colonials spent the entire game playing catch up.

Bucknell did all the right things to win the game. They were able to control Rodney Pryor and win the battle at the glass, out-rebounding RMU 39-29 and limiting Pryor to 6-of-14 from the field, 2-of-9 from 3-point range.

Although the Colonials were able to limit the Bucknell offense, which averaged 94 points per game coming into today, to only 81 points, that was still too many for a Robert Morris team built to win low scoring games.

Players were failing to move quickly across their zones, letting either Chris Hass receive wide open shots to score 12 points from deep or allowing Zach Thomas to score 14 points in the paint in only 24 minutes on the floor.

The two standouts from the day were Elijah Minnie and Kavon Stewart, at least for RMU. Minnie kept the Colonials close in the first half with two blocks, three steals and five points in the first half, while Stewart’s hustle plays put the Bison in foul trouble and helped slow the pace of the second half, giving the Colonials a chance for a comeback.

With Aaron Tate limited to five minutes and Matt McConnell out with a shoulder injury, the Colonials were trying to fill the holes in the lineup with guys like Steven Whitley and Jordan Lester. But RMU was unable to replace the 3-point ability of McConnell, shooting only 28 percent from 3-point range in the game, compared to shooting 45 percent against Penn.

But In the end, Robert Morris was out-hustled, outplayed, and out-disciplined as fans watched in shock as passes were dropped and easy shots were missed that could have given the Colonials the win at home.

“Completing our slides, just not giving up on the play and things like that we have to pick up in order to be a better defensive team,” said Pryor, the senior guard.

The players know that it is defense which will win these tough match-ups for the Colonials and allow them to command the pace of the ball game, something which they were unable to do tonight.

“When we aren’t disciplined, they capitalize on everything,” added Stewart.

Robert Morris lost too many points in transition to the Bison, allowing 14 fast break points which ruined any momentum the Colonials were attempting to gain in their comeback efforts.

When asked about the defensive breakdowns, head coach Andy Toole responded, “Guys are kind of just flying around and hoping for the best, and when you do that against a team like Bucknell they hurt you. And that’s what happened tonight.”

“We are gonna watch some of the ways we hurt ourselves….to give ourselves a better chance,” said Toole.

The Colonials will now head to the United States Air Force Academy to face the Falcons in their first test of the Air Force Classic. Robert Morris will need to show improvement on both ends of the ball to walk away with the victory.

Tip-off for this match-up with Air Force is scheduled for Nov. 22 at 4 p.m.