Roster size just a number for Robert Morris
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Robert Morris basketball coach Andy Toole said injured center Stephan Hawkins is “50-50” to play Saturday in the Colonials' regular-season home finale against St. Francis (N.Y.).
In other words, there is more than a slight chance that Toole will have just seven players for all or most of the game.
“I wouldn't say it's not a big deal,” he said. “But we'll go out and play.”
The Colonials' tallest player at 6-foot-9, Hawkins sprained his left ankle with 9:51 left in the first half against LIU Brooklyn on Thursday. The sophomore spent the rest of the game on the bench, the ankle heavily wrapped.
Afterward, he said it hurt “really bad.”
Hawkins said he felt better Friday and practiced somewhat gingerly. Toole said his status will be a “game-time decision.”
Without the improving Hawkins, the Colonials showed they could function with seven players. Trailing by 16 points early in the second half, they beat LIU 73-64.
It was just one more obstacle Robert Morris has surmounted during an eventful season that includes a 5-10 nonconference record followed by the loss of six players who were suspended by the university or quit the team, leaving eight players on the roster.
After all of that — and Hawkins' injury — the Colonials are 12-1 atop the Northeast Conference. The win over LIU coupled with a loss by second-place Bryant clinched at least a share of the regular-season title.
“Overcoming adversity is just something that we do,” said senior guard Karvel Anderson, who scored all 26 of his points against LIU in the second half, including 17 in the final 4:30. “We enjoy doing it and being pretty good at it.”
Hawkins played only eight minutes, but Toole managed to refrain from overworking the remaining players. None played more than 33 minutes or fewer than 21.
Toole said “a lot of things can present issues” with potentially having seven players, including rebounding, play-calling — “having guys in different spots” — and fouls.
So far, however, the Colonials remain unfazed.
“There's some great character in that locker room,” Toole said. “There's some great heart in that locker room.”
Bob Cohn is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter@BCohn_Trib.
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