Photo credit: Samuel Anthony
Photo credit: Samuel Anthony

The red hot Red Flash down the Colonials

January 12, 2018

The Robert Morris Colonials (10-7, 4-0) battled in-state Northeast Conference (NEC) rival, St. Francis Red Flash (9-6, 3-1), Thursday night at PPG Paints Arena. The Red Flash defeated the Colonials 89-80.

Jamaal King led the Red Flash with 27 points and Dachon Burke led the Colonials with 21 points. Koby Thomas recorded a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Colonials.

“I thought the game was played on their terms for 40 minutes,” said Robert Morris head coach Andy Toole. “They score, they execute, they make shots, they don’t turn it over, and that’s what they did tonight.”

The Red Flash remained disciplined in the first half, not allowing a turnover until over halfway through the first half. They continued to find open shots, grab offensive rebounds, and force the Colonials to foul them inside the paint. The Colonials struggled to muster up anything on offense and turned the ball over four times through the first 12 minutes. The Flash led 32-24 with 7:47 remaining.

Things started to settle down for the Colonials after a three by Charles Bain cut the Red Flash lead down to 6, but a foul by Jon Williams led to a technical foul by the Robert Morris bench, causing a 4-point swing.

After a charge was called on the Colonials, St. Francis led Robert Morris 42-29 with a little under five minutes to play. After a 15-5 run by the Red Flash, Koby Thomas banked in a three for the Colonials before the media timeout with 2:47 remaining.

Turnovers and missed shots plagued both teams in the final minutes of the half until the Colonials’ Leondre Washington hit two free throws, but Washington committed a technical foul with 19.7 seconds in the first half.

The high-powered Red Flash led the Colonials 52-37 at the end of the first half. “They exposed, pretty much, every aspect of our defense,” said Toole. “We played St. Francis’ game tonight and lost 89-80.”

Three players for the Red Flash scored at least 12 points in the first half and Andre Wolford and Jamaal King led the team with 17 points and 16 points, respectively. They went a combined 10-11 from the line. Thomas led the Colonials with 10 points at halftime.

The Red Flash led the Colonials 12-2 in second chance points in the first half. The Colonials leading scorer, Dachon Burke, committed three fouls in the first half and only played nine minutes, tallying up only 9 points.

With Saint Francis winning the tip to start the game, Robert Morris started the second half with the ball. Thomas scored a layup for the Colonials and then both teams traded off threes. Thomas started to excite the crowd by getting athletic rebounds and slamming down a dunk, but a three-point shot to beat the shot clock buzzer by Jamaal King gave the Red Flash momentum again. Thomas excited the crowd, yet again, as he slammed down another dunk right before the media timeout with 14:16 remaining in the second half with the score 60-46.

The Colonials and the Red Flash traded baskets to make the score 65-52 with 11:18 at the media timeout. A made free throw by Thomas and a couple baskets by Washington cut the Red Flash lead to 11 points until a layup and a free-throw by Jamaal King gave the Red Flash a 74-58 lead.

A three-pointer by Leondre Washington with 4:37 cut the Red Flash lead to 13 before a Robert Morris timeout and a tip-in layup by Chris Coalmon made the score 83-72 with 3:40 to play.

The Colonials seemed to swing the momentum in their favor when St. Francis shot the ball out of bounds. Burke responded with a layup for the Colonials on the fast break after a miss by the Red Flash on their next possession.

After a missed shot by the Colonials, both teams fought for the ball, leading to a one-and-one by Thomas. After the miss on the front end, St. Francis tipped the ball out of bounds. St. Francis would still lead 83-76 with 46.7 seconds remaining.

Washington and Williams would both miss threes for the Colonials, leading to an easy layup for Keith Braxton, extending the Red Flash lead to 85-76. Another miss, followed by two free throws by King for the Red Flash, put the game out of reach for the Colonials.

“We found ourselves in a big hole and tried to fight back, but were unable to do so,” said Andy Toole.

Junior guard, and veteran player, Matty McConnell continued to struggle offensively for the Colonials as he went 0-for-4 from behind the arc. “Right now, I am probably in one of my worst shooting slumps that I’ve ever been in,” said McConnell. “But I am not going to stop shooting.” McConnell still found a way to contribute, as he had five points and four assists.

The final score of 89-80 brings the St. Francis Red Flash to 10-6 overall and 4-1 in the NEC. The loss drops the Colonials to 10-8 overall and 4-1 in the NEC. The loss for the Colonials ends their four-game winning streak.

With a win by the Wagner Seahawks over the Bryant Bulldogs, Wagner, Robert Morris and St. Francis all hold a three-way tie for first place in the NEC.

The Colonials end their home stand with a 2-1 record and will play their next three games on the road. Robert Morris will play at Fairleigh Dickinson on Jan. 13, and St. Francis will return home on Jan. 13 to face Mount St. Mary’s.

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