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Robert Morris

RMU coach frustrated with team's lack of energy in loss to Youngstown State

Paul Schofield
| Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2014, 9:28 p.m.

Robert Morris basketball coach Andy Toole is frustrated, and he expressed that Tuesday after his team lost 89-81 to Youngstown State at Sewall Center.

Toole was disappointed with about every phase of his team's effort, especially the energy, the desire and passion to play an NCAA Division I basketball team.

“You can't win games when you relax,” Toole said. “You don't know how hard it is to win a Division I game.

“We had no energy, no activity and no real desire. I'm begging them to tell me what nerve to touch to get them to play harder.”

Youngstown State (5-4) outscored Robert Morris, 14-6, during the final 2:48 to win for the second consecutive season. RMU had won the previous seven prior to the 2013 game.

Bobby Hain scored 24 points and had 14 rebounds, and Marcus Keene scored 17 of his 24 points in the second half for Youngstown State.

The loss dropped the Colonials to 2-5, their worst start since the 2004-05 season, when they opened 2-7.

Lucky Jones led Robert Morris with 21 points and Rodney Pryor added 14.

“We didn't play with a 40-minute effort,” said Jones, a senior. “We didn't play hard, and we didn't execute the way we need to.”

The Colonials were never able to get control but still hung around behind the shooting of Jones and Pryor.

But for the most part, it was Youngstown State's hustle that decided the game.

“I can't relate to the lack of effort, lack of passion, lack of toughness and knowing where you're supposed to be on the floor,” Toole said. “We pride ourselves on getting to every loose ball. Youngstown State got every loose ball, and somewhere we lost that effort.

“We're not using youth as why we're not successful. A lot of young guys getting great opportunities to be on the floor, and they have to perform better than they are. It's not the first time they've played basketball.”

Youngstown State started hot, hitting four of its first five shots, to build a 17-7 lead.

When Hain got hot in the paint, scoring 12 points in the opening half, Youngstown State pushed the lead to 37-27.

Youngstown State made 21 of 34 shots in the first half (61.8 percent) against the Colonials' 2-3 zone.

But Robert Morris finished the half on a 10-0 run to grab a 48-46 lead at halftime on a 3-pointer by Jones, who swiped a pass after an Elijah Minnie dunk and drained the shot at the buzzer.

Minnie, a 6-foot-8 freshman, scored the first seven points of the run on a 3-pointer and two dunks.

Robert Morris was 21 of 32 from the floor (65.6 percent) against the Youngstown State man-to-man defense.

“We have guys worried more about how many minutes they play or how many points they score than winning,” Toole said. “How can you not be excited to play a basketball game and not be willing to compete?”

Robert Morris gets a chance to rectify its problems at 1 p.m. Sunday when it hosts Buffalo.

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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