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Robert Morris

Robert Morris men's basketball team falls to 0-3 after loss to Bucknell

Paul Schofield
| Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015, 10:07 p.m.
Bucknell's Dom Hoffman scores around Robert Morris' Billy Giles late in the second half Wednesday, Nov.18, 2015, at Sewall Center in Moon.
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media
Bucknell's Dom Hoffman scores around Robert Morris' Billy Giles late in the second half Wednesday, Nov.18, 2015, at Sewall Center in Moon.
Robert Morris' Andre Frederick dunks over Bucknell's Chris Hass (14) and Zach Thomas during the first half Wednesday, Nov.18, 2015, at Sewall Center in Moon.
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media
Robert Morris' Andre Frederick dunks over Bucknell's Chris Hass (14) and Zach Thomas during the first half Wednesday, Nov.18, 2015, at Sewall Center in Moon.
Coach Andy Toole and Robert Morris are trying to bounce back from the team's worst record since 2001.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Coach Andy Toole and Robert Morris are trying to bounce back from the team's worst record since 2001.
Robert Morris' Isaiah Still battles Bucknell's Nate Jones for a loose ball during the first half Wednesday, Nov.18, 2015, at Sewall Center in Moon.
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media
Robert Morris' Isaiah Still battles Bucknell's Nate Jones for a loose ball during the first half Wednesday, Nov.18, 2015, at Sewall Center in Moon.
Bucknell's Zach Thomas scores over Robert Morris' Andre Frederick during the first half Wednesday, Nov.18, 2015, at Sewall Center. Thomas had a game-high 19 points, as Bucknell won 81-76.
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media
Bucknell's Zach Thomas scores over Robert Morris' Andre Frederick during the first half Wednesday, Nov.18, 2015, at Sewall Center. Thomas had a game-high 19 points, as Bucknell won 81-76.
Robert Morris' Andre Frederick scores past Bucknell's Nana Foulland during the second half Wednesday, Nov.18, 2015, at Sewall Center in Moon.
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media
Robert Morris' Andre Frederick scores past Bucknell's Nana Foulland during the second half Wednesday, Nov.18, 2015, at Sewall Center in Moon.
Bucknell's Nana Foulland scores over Robert Morris' Billy Giles during the first half Wednesday, Nov.18, 2015, at Sewall Center in Moon.
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media
Bucknell's Nana Foulland scores over Robert Morris' Billy Giles during the first half Wednesday, Nov.18, 2015, at Sewall Center in Moon.
Robert Morris' Kavon Stewart pressures Bucknell's Stephen Brown during the second half Wednesday, Nov.18, 2015, at Sewall Center in Moon.
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media
Robert Morris' Kavon Stewart pressures Bucknell's Stephen Brown during the second half Wednesday, Nov.18, 2015, at Sewall Center in Moon.
Robert Morris' Kavon Stewart is pressured by Bucknell's Stephen Brown during the second half Wednesday, Nov.18, 2015, at Sewall Center in Moon.
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media
Robert Morris' Kavon Stewart is pressured by Bucknell's Stephen Brown during the second half Wednesday, Nov.18, 2015, at Sewall Center in Moon.
Robert Morris' Rodney Pryor shoots a three-point shot over Bucknell's Nate Jones during the second half Wednesday, Nov.18, 2015, at Sewall Center in Moon. Pryor had a team-high 15 points in the 81-76 loss.
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media
Robert Morris' Rodney Pryor shoots a three-point shot over Bucknell's Nate Jones during the second half Wednesday, Nov.18, 2015, at Sewall Center in Moon. Pryor had a team-high 15 points in the 81-76 loss.

Robert Morris men's basketball coach Andy Toole knows the solution to his team's three-game slide to begin the season: Start faster.

The Colonials dug themselves a huge hole for the third consecutive game and ended up falling to Bucknell, 81-76, on Wednesday at Sewall Center.

Bucknell, picked to finish second in the Patriot League, used a 14-0 run early in the first half, kept Robert Morris (0-3) scoreless for more than six minutes and held on at the end against the scrappy Colonials.

Four free throws in the final 10 seconds from Ryan Frazier stymied the Colonials' fierce comeback.

“I thought we did a lot of positive things, but we didn't start the game in the fashion that we needed,” Toole said. “It seems that we'd crawl back into it and then we'd have a couple breakdowns where they were able to extend their lead again.

“But I saw a lot of good stuff from a lot of different guys. Some good individual performances, and some guys look like they are getting a better understanding on how you have to compete. That's what we're going to build on.”

Robert Morris was leading 5-4 when Bucknell (2-1) went on its run to erase the early deficit. Bucknell, which led 39-31 at halftime, led by as much as 23-8 in the first half and 56-41 in the second.

Robert Morris senior Rodney Pryor, who was averaging 22.5 points, didn't score his first point until he hit a free throw with 3:15 left in the first half. He missed his first five shots but still led the Colonials with 15 points.

“It was one of those nights,” Pryor said. “I have to come better than that both mentally and physically.”

The Colonials were short-handed. Freshman guard Matty McConnell (Chartiers Valley), who started the first two games, missed the game after suffering a dislocated left shoulder Sunday at Cincinnati. Toole hopes McConnell will return soon.

Senior Aaron Tate played only five minutes after returning from a leg injury.

Bucknell opened the second half by scoring the first six points, and it had an answer every time Robert Morris would get close. It hit open jumpers or beat the Colonials defense back down the court for layups.

Zach Thomas, who led Bucknell with 19 points, and Chris Hass, who added 18, hit big shots to keep Robert Morris at bay.

“We were out of place in our zone positioning, and we gave up some easy points,” Pryor said. “When we get close, we have to gut up and make stops.”

Robert Morris continued to fight. It pulled within 77-75 with 12.2 seconds left.

The Colonials had chances to tie the score in the final minute but couldn't get the tying shot to drop.

“The intensity was better at times, and a lot of the game we played at the appropriate level that's needed to win,” Toole said. “We just have to be able to make decisions at that level, be able to react at that level, and have to be able to sustain that level for a full 40 minutes.”

Junior point guard Kavon Stewart had 14 points and six assists for RMU. Freshman Isaiah Still scored 13, and sophomore Andre Frederick finished with 10.

Robert Morris travels to Air Force on Sunday as it embarks on a four-game road trip.

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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