Robert Morris blows big lead, loses to Bryant at home
Robert Morris coach Andy Toole felt his team played well for the first 30 minutes of Saturday's game against Bryant.
Toole then said the final 10 minutes left little to be desired.
The Colonials saw a 12-point second-half lead evaporate as Bryant came back to win, 59-56, in a Northeast Conference game at Sewall Center.
Isaiah Still's 3-point attempt to tie with four seconds remaining rimmed out, giving Bryant its first road win of the season. The Bulldogs were 0-11 on the road entering Saturday.
“We couldn't finish the game,” Toole said. “We couldn't make the shots, and we couldn't get the stops down the stretch. I thought we had some good looks down the stretch and couldn't get it done.
“It's disappointing because we can't seem to put together a full 40 minutes.”
Matty McConnell hit a 3-pointer, followed a pair of layups by Dachon Burke to help Robert Morris build a double-digit lead to begin the second half. The Colonials (7-14, 3-5) led by nine midway through the second half before Bryant (6-15, 3-5) went on a 15-4 run over the next seven minutes for a 49-47 lead.
“In the second half, we came out real strong and got a double-digit lead, and I think we let loose a little bit,” said Burke, who led the Colonials with 16 points. “We stopped doing the things we did to get there. We took our foot off the pedal a little bit and they responded.”
During Bryant's run, Kavon Stewart was called for a flagrant foul for pushing Sabastian Townes in the back under the basket as Nisre Zouzoua made a 3-pointer. The 3-pointer counted and Zouzoua then made two free throws given for the flagrant foul for a five-point possession.
“They told me he wound up and put his forearm in his back. He said it was a no-brainer flagrant foul,” Toole said. “I haven't seen it yet, but that obviously was a big turning point in the game. We go from missing a difficult layup attempt, where I thought there was contact, to giving up a 3-pointer in front of their bench and then (the flagrant foul), so it really was like a seven-point swing there.”
Zouzoua, the NEC's leading scorer with a 20.3 points per game average, battled foul trouble in the first half and was held to two points, but finished the game with 11. Marcel Pettway led the Bulldogs with 18 points.
Robert Morris honored the 1991-92 team at halftime for its 25th anniversary of winning the NEC and its NCAA tournament appearance. During the ceremony Aliquippa native Myron Walker, Robert Morris' all-time leading scorer and member of the 91-92 team, was inducted into Robert Morris' ring of honor.
Jerin Steele is a freelance writer.