RMU clinches NEC title, home-court advantage in playoffs
College Football Videos
SMITHFIELD, R.I. — Robert Morris coach Andy Toole admitted that Thursday night's standing-room-only crowd at Bryant's Chace Athletic Center was the toughest environment the Colonials have played in this season.
So how did the Colonials block out the ear-splitting noise to edge the Bulldogs, 77-75, and clinch the Northeast Conference regular-season title?
“We have a lot of guys that have played in a lot of games like that,” Toole said. “That's a crew of guys that as freshmen and sophomores went to LIU and lost a game in overtime in the championship where you couldn't hear yourself think.
“They've been through these kinds of experiences. Velton Jones, Russell Johnson and Anthony Myers have been in this kind of environment. I knew it would be a factor early because you're so excited and so energized by that crowd. I was worried early how we would settle in. But I thought coming down the stretch it wouldn't affect our play.”
As regular-season champs, the Colonials secured home-court advantage throughout the NEC playoffs next week and earned an automatic bid to the NIT Tournament if they don't win the NEC's automatic berth in NCAA Tournament.
Karvel Anderson led RMU (21-9, 13-4) with 24 points, while Lucky Jones added 17. Each came up big in the second half, as Anderson scored 17 points and Jones 14.
Anderson's 3-pointer with 11.6 seconds left in regulation gave RMU a 74-69 lead, and two free throws by Jones two seconds later essentially clinched the victory.
“Karvel was terrific tonight,” Toole said. “In the first half he took a couple of tough ones. I told him to calm down. You're going to get your looks.
“In the second half, he did a nice job of attacking the basket. He got to the free throw line himself. That kind of softened him up and allowed him to make some of those outside shots.”
Bryant led, 37-31, at halftime due in large part to Anthony Francis, who scored 14 of his 22 points.
Toole said he felt RMU's man-to-man defense was the key in the second half — in all, RMU scored 12 points off 16 Bryant turnovers.
“We talked coming into the game about ball pressure and really trying to make them uncomfortable,” Toole said. “They move the ball so well on the pass that if you don't pressure them, they're going to pick you apart.
“If you don't have somebody that pressures that ball and makes that guy pause so the rest of your defense can catch up, you don't have a chance.”
Mike Scandura is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Five questions facing Steelers entering training camp
- Steelers cut linebacker Kion Wilson, sign cornerback Toler
- North Huntingdon woman charged with threatening to burn down officer’s house
- Mon Valley called ‘ground zero’ for blight
- Steel Valley area youth attend water camp
- Pirates’ Melancon has been consistent since moving into closer’s role
- Aliquippa father is charged by Beaver County DA in girls’ dresser death
- Well-traveled Clemons trying to find home with Carolina Panthers
- Truck crashes into Dairy Queen, 6 injured in Penn Hills
- Shuey burger star of ‘bashes’
- 2014 has been among deadliest for the world’s airline industry