McConnell leads Robert Morris past CCSU
When Robert Morris president Chris Howard's announced the building of UMPC Events Center and contract extension of men's basketball coach Andy Toole on Thursday, Howard predicted a victory against Central Connecticut State.
Toole's basketball team made sure the president was correct.
W ith the game on the line, sophomore Matty McConnell a pair of 3-pointers to finish off the Blue Devils.
McConnell finished with 12 points and Robert Morris (7-13, 3-4 NEC) ended a two-game losing streak with 74-67 victory at Sewall Center. It also extended Central Connecticut State's losing streak to 13.
“It was a little more stressful than we wanted,” Toole said. “We're just thankful to get the win. The president told me at the earlier press conference that we had to win the game, and that's what we tried to do.”
Senior Kavon Stewart led the Colonials with 21 points and six assists. Injuries sidelined leading scorer Isaiah Still (knee) and reserve Billy Giles (foot).
Before and after the game, conversation centered on UPMC Events Center — the future site for the men's and women's basketball teams and women's volleyball team.
The People Court, which will seat more than 4,000, will replace Sewall Center. Construction will begin in late June and is expected to be ready for the start of NEC play in Jan. 2019.
The men's team will play home games at PPG Paints Arena in 2018-19. The project will be funded largely by individual donations and corporate sponsorships.
“For the athletic programs, this place will be awesome,” RMU athletic director Craig Coleman said. “The campus will become more vibrant and attract people to see our campus. We'll be able to attract quality opponents here too.”
Toole said he can't describe the possible recruiting benefits.
“When you're recruiting in July, everyone has a plan for a new facility,” Toole said. “To actually have ours is really remarkable.”
Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @Schofield_Trib.