Robert Morris will rely on defensive effort in NEC semifinals
By Ralph N. Paulk
Published: Friday, March 8, 2013, 7:09 p.m.
Offensively, Robert Morris is flash and substance. The Colonials lead the NEC in 3-point shooting and free-throw percentage.
When their half-court game is out of sync, they can fall back on a perimeter game fueled by guard Karvel Anderson, who scored 20 points in a 75-57 win over St. Francis (N.Y.) in the quarterfinals of the NEC Tournament.
And when they're getting hammered on the offensive glass, they can make up for it at the foul line.
Forwards Russell Johnson and Lucky Jones combined for 36 points and 14 rebounds in getting top-seeded Robert Morris into Saturday's semifinal matchup against No.5-seed Mount St. Mary's at Sewall Center.
But the nuts and bolts of the Colonials' success this season can be credited to an unrelenting defense that's first in scoring and defending the 3-point line.
They, too, have been solid with their transition defense, limiting the opposition to few fast-break opportunities.
“They (Mountaineers) are good at tempo and great at turning you over,” coach Andrew Toole said.
“They are good in transition and at taking threes. It's going to be important for us to get back in transition defense because they'll look to push the ball up quickly.”
The Colonials figure they must control the game's tempo.
They can do so by keeping the Mountaineers from exploiting them in the open court.
Also, they must continue to defend the 3-point arc as they have during their six-game winning streak.
Opposing teams are shooting just 30 percent from beyond the 3-point arc over the past 10 games, which is better than the defense during a three-game losing streak at midseason in which they allowed 80 points per game.
“When you look across the country and see teams getting upsets, it's because they're getting hot behind the 3-point line,” Toole said.
“If you're making 2s and they're making 3s, pretty soon you have some points to make up. We want to make sure we don't give up a lot of clean looks from the 3-point line.
“Defensively, we were struggling. We weren't dictating to our opponents, and we weren't making them uncomfortable. We were sitting back and letting teams shoot the shots they wanted, and they were able to pick us apart.”
The Colonials didn't change anything strategically. Toole said they have simply turned up the heat defensively.
“We have some seniors with tournament experience, so I'm hoping those guys will set the tone,” Toole said.
Ralph N. Paulk is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @RalphPaulk_Trib.
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.
- Steelers safety Polamalu finds himself in tough position
- Kovacevic: A great day to appreciate No. 68
- LeBeau wants to come back as Steelers defensive coordinator
- Power play, penalty kill help put Penguins on another 100-point pace
- Pitt’s Donald sweeps Outland, Bednarik awards, named All-American
- Penguins notebook: Popularity with female fans brings test event to Consol
- Man wounded in Mt. Lebanon apartment shooting
- Pirates claim 3 pitchers in minor league Rule 5 draft
- Duo sought in spate of Greensburg graffiti
- Steelers notebook: Cutting down turnovers, sacks hasn’t led to victories
- Pair jailed in Hempfield drugstore robbery