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Robert Morris men's basketball team is plagued by inconsistency

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Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012

Robert Morris coach Andy Toole has seen signs of resurgence, but he is relieved three weeks remain before the start of the Northeast Conference tournament.

"I see some excitement as the season winds down and the guys are starting to feel the urgency of February and March coming on," said Toole, whose streaky team has lost two of its past three games after winning four in a row. "But we have a lot of stuff we have to work through and clean up. We are capable and talented enough to make a run. I just don't know."

Nine days ago, Toole kept his players after school and forced them to watch a replay of their 81-68 loss to St. Francis (N.Y.) immediately after the game.

The payoff didn't come immediately. In its next game, Robert Morris lost at Wagner, 80-69, a margin that was only six points greater than Pitt's loss to the Seahawks on Dec. 23 at the Pete.

"Winning at Wagner is not as easy thing to do," Toole said. "We allowed some of our poor shooting to affect our defensive effort. But we had a great bounce-back win at Mount St. Mary's (67-62) where we started to realize if we defend we are a good team, and if we do not defend we are not a good team."

Robert Morris plays St. Francis (Pa.) in consecutive games Wednesday at Loretto and Saturday at Sewall Center. Toole isn't crazy about the scheduling quirk.

"It's odd to prepare for the same team twice in a week," he said. "It's something that never really happens in sports, unless you are a baseball guy, and even then you have a different pitcher every day."

For all its ups and downs, Robert Morris (17-8, 8-4) has clinched its seventh consecutive winning season, extending a school record. It is the second-longest streak in NEC history (behind Fairleigh Dickinson's 10 in a row from 1981-1991).

> > West Virginia forward Kevin Jones is one of 20 players selected to the Midseason Watch List of the Oscar Robertson Trophy, which will be presented to the national player of the year March 30.

> > Edinboro's Isaiah Prince was named player of the week in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference West. Prince, a 6-foot guard who played at Imani Christian, scored 55 of Edinboro's 133 points in victories at California and Lock Haven. He hit 62.9 percent of his shots (22 of 35), with five steals, two assists and a block.

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