Robert Morris men’s basketball (0-3) has had quite a slow start to the season, and after dropping to the Bucknell Bison (2-1) 81-76 tonight, head coach Andy Toole finds himself in an early 0-3 hole.
The first loss of the season came from Toole’s alma mater, Penn, in a heartbreaking 76-75 nail biter. Even with a 28-point game from senior Rodney Pryor, the Colonials were not able to make up a 16-point halftime deficit, and would fall by a mere one point.
Robert Morris’ second game was quite the opposite after visiting the Cincinnati Bearcats in a 106-44 loss. Freshman Isaiah Still and Pryor were the only two Colonials who managed to score in double digits as the team struggled shooting only 27.7 percent from the field and making only 25 percent of its three-point attempts.
Robert Morris Outpaced:
Tonight, the Colonials were welcomed by their home crowd for the first time this season, but the Bucknell Bison shot out of the herd in the first 10 minutes shooting 56.3 percent (9-16) from the field. Robert Morris struggled driving the lane as the Bison threw up a gate of defenders preventing the Colonials from getting to the basket shooting only 13 percent (3-13).
Bucknell would finish the first half going 50 percent from both the field (13-26) and from behind the arc (4-8). The Bison were also optimizing their abilities on the boards collecting a total of 22 rebounds compared to Robert Morris’ 16.
Starting the game with no momentum, Bobby Mo began picking up the tempo with five minutes to go in the first half. After an Elijah Minnie dunk that re-energized the crowd, Robert Morris became more aggressive in creating separation and instinctively pulled away rebounds. The Colonials were able to come within striking distance going into the second half with only an eight-point deficit, 39-31.
The second half began similarly to the first, with the Bison, once again, finding their groove against the Colonials defense. Drawing fouls and hitting threes was a recipe for a Bucknell offense that would take multiple double digit leads and convert on wide open shots.
The Sewall Center in Moon Township began to intensify in the final minutes as Toole’s team was able to come within three points and give the Bison a run for their money. With only 1:17 left in the game, the Colonials stormed back and came within a hair’s length of tying the game, 76-73. Bobby Mo couldn’t quite capitalize on key opportunities and would drop their third game of the season 81-76.
“We did a lot of positive things, but just didn’t start the way we needed to,” Toole said in the post-game conference. “There were breakdowns, some by players who should know better. We were able to come close, but the breakdowns, defensively, allowed them to extend their lead.”
Colonial Star of the Game:
Pryor is tonight’s star finishing the game with 15 points, six rebounds and three steals. Pryor has become the leader of this young team and has exhibited both a physical play on the court and mental toughness when in bad situations.
“We just gave up easy points by their big guys in the paint, and couldn’t attack the lane,” Pryor said after the game. “The ball wasn’t where we needed to be offensively and we couldn’t slide on defense to our proper zones.
This is not the first time the Colonials have started off slow. Last season, Robert Morris dropped its first five of seven, and would still go on to play in the NCAA Tournament. It is only a matter of getting the younger players in the right spot and limiting turnovers offensively.
The Colonials will now be traveling on the road for four straight road games in the Air Force Classic. Bobby Mo will first match up against Air Force in Colorado Springs, Colorado this Sunday at 4 p.m.