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Robert Morris falls to physical Georgetown

| Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014, 3:43 p.m.
Robert Morris guard Lucky Jones (right) shoots over Georgetown defender Aaron Bowen (23) on Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014, in Washington.
Robert Morris guard Lucky Jones (right) shoots over Georgetown defender Aaron Bowen (23) on Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014, in Washington.

WASHINGTON — Six days after falling to the most talented team they're likely to encounter this season, the Robert Morris men's basketball team succumbed to what may be this season's most physical foe.

Despite 16 points from Rodney Pryor and 13 from Lucky Jones, the Colonials fell 80-66 to a bruising Georgetown Hoyas squad Saturday afternoon in a game they trailed by as many as 27 points after halftime.

Joshua Smith scored 22 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for Georgetown (3-0), whose starting frontcourt brought in a combined 170-pound advantage over RMU's, mostly through Smith's 350-pound frame.

In their second game in the Battle for Atlantis tournament, the Colonials (1-3) were outrebounded 47-31 by the Hoyas, who also led 8-2 in blocked shots and 38-20 in points in the paint.

“They just wear on you,” RMU coach Andrew Toole said. “Just simple things like getting open on the wing take more effort against these guys because they're so long and physical. And so now, if you're not incredibly detailed and supremely conditioned, eventually it will wear on you.”

The defeat at Verizon Center came three days after the Colonials' first win and six after a blowout loss at No. 6 North Carolina in the first game of the tournament.

D'Vauntes Rivera-Smith scored 12 points and contributed seven assists for Georgetown, and L.J. Peak also had 12 points for a Hoyas team that held the Colonials to 31 percent (18 of 59) from the floor.

Including Saturday's loss, RMU has been outrebounded by double digits in all three defeats and by a combined 139-85 margin, a deficit Toole chalked up mostly to quality of opposition.

“You can see the times we would post the ball, guys end up shooting kind of off-balance shots because they don't (typically) have 240- to 250-pound guys laying on them,” Toole said. “So I think our offensive play will improve. But that being said, I still think we have to find other creative ways to score.”

Robert Morris will finish a five-game stretch away from Sewall Center by wrapping up the tournament with games in the mid-major bracket in Chattanooga, Tenn., on Wednesday and Thursday.

On Saturday, the Colonials hung around early and trailed only 15-14 after Pryor's fadeaway 3-pointer. But the Hoyas responded by outscoring RMU, 15-6, to close the half up 36-24. Smith-Rivera hit a 3-pointer and four foul shots in that stretch.

The deficit grew quickly after halftime, with Smith-Rivera rebounding his own missed 3 for a layup to push it to 42-24 before sinking a baseline 3 during a 9-0 spurt that pushed it to 55-29.

The Colonials closed the game on a 14-4 run that included one 3 and one dunk each from Pryor and Jones.

“I think in the last seven, eight minutes of the game, we stayed with high energy,” said Pryor, who had scored 26 points in RMU's win Wednesday at Bradley. “I think we've got to remember to keep playing hard, like coach said. I think there were some possessions where we got caught watching and let our guard down.”

Ian Quillen is a freelance writer.

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