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Robert Morris losing streak reaches 5 games

| Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013, 6:42 p.m.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Toldeo's Justin Drummond is fouled by Robert Morris' Stephan Hawkins during the second half Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013, at Sewall Center in Moon.

Robert Morris coach Andy Toole admitted he is confused about how officials are calling games this season.

It has forced him to change his defensive philosophy, going from man-to-man pressure to a zone.

Despite the change, the Colonials (3-7) on Saturday dropped their fifth consecutive game — and first at Sewall Center this season — 80-77 to Toledo (8-0). It was their third loss to a MAC team.

The loss wasted excellent shooting nights from Lucky Jones (25 points) and Karvel Anderson (23), who shot a combined 19 of 23, including 9 of 11 from behind the 3-point line.

But the Colonials are finding it difficult to adjust to the new foul rules. Because the Colonials were getting into foul trouble in previous games, and because Toledo is an efficient offensive team, Toole went with a new defense: a 3-2 matchup zone.

“I thought we did a lot of good things that put us in a position to win the game,” Toole said. “But it always comes down to a handful of plays that either they make or you make.

“If you're going to beat a real good team, we have to clean those things up. Every time we made an error, they capitalized on it.”

The Colonials grabbed a 41-37 halftime lead and finished making 31 of 49 shots (63.3 percent), including 10 of 14 3-pointers. But Toledo capitalized on mistakes and made free throws to escape with the win. Toledo made all eight of its free throws in the final 5 minutes, 46 seconds and missed just three (19 of 22) all night.

Anderson gave the Colonials their final lead at 66-65 with a 3-pointer with 7:36 left. Toledo scored the next five points.

Robert Morris had the final possession, but the Rockets fouled Anderson before he was able to get off a potential tying shot.

The Rockets, who entered the game shooting better than 50 percent from the floor, were led Rian Pearson with 19 points. Justin Drummond and Julius Brown each added 16.

“They are so efficient offensively, it would have been ugly if we played man-to-man,” Toole said.

Jones said he would like officials be more consistent.

“You either make the call or not,” he said. “Be consistent the entire game.”

Toole said he doesn't know what to say to his team about how things are called.

“At least previously you knew they weren't going to call a lot of things,” Toole said.

“It's hard to tell our guys what to do from an aggressive standpoint. To be a good defensive team now, you have to be a quick-thinking, well-positioned and urgent team. So when you're out of position in man-to-man defense, you get exposed.”

The Colonials have a week to rectify it before returning to the court Saturday at Duquesne.

Paul Schofield is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at pschofield@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Schofield_Trib.

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