St. Francis (Pa.) rolls past Robert Morris
LORETTO — Robert Morris didn't end a four-game road trip the way it started.
The Colonials, who opened with consecutive wins in New England, ended the trip with their second double-digit loss, falling at Northeast Conference rival St. Francis (Pa.), 90-78, on Saturday.
The Red Flash made 51.6 percent of their shots in the first half, built a 43-23 edge by halftime and held off a late run to secure the victory.
Veteran guards Ben Millaud-Meunier (29 points) and Malik Harmon (22) combined to score 51 points for St. Francis (10-11, 6-4). The duo combined to make 12 of the team's 13 3-pointers, including nine in the first half.
Meanwhile, the Colonials (6-17, 4-6) didn't make their first 3-pointer from a scholarship player until Matty McConnell broke the ice with 8 minutes, 15 seconds remaining.
“They were ready and fired up to play, and they kicked our butt,” Robert Morris coach Andy Toole said.
The score was tied at 8-8 when the Red Flash went on an 8-2 run. They slowly extended the lead the behind Ronnie Drinnon (10 points), Harmon (13) and Millaud-Meunier (12), who combined for 35 of the team's 43 first-half points.
If Robert Morris had any designs on a second-half comeback, three quick 3-pointers by Millaud-Meunier ended those thoughts.
“As long as Ben is in the gym, he has the green light,” St. Francis coach Rob Krimmel said. “After losing to Fairleigh Dickinson on Thursday, it was important to get off to a good start. I was proud with the focus we had in the first half.”
Millaud-Meunier said he has had the Robert Morris game circled after bantering on Twitter with Robert Morris fans. He lived up to his word.
“Robert Morris is hard to beat,” Millaud-Meunier said. “I really was trying to divert the attention to the older guys and away from the younger guys when we play them.”
Krimmel admitted it was easier for his team to stay focused because the opponent was Robert Morris, which has been one of the premier programs in the conference.
“They are our rival,” Krimmel said. “We were able to build a decent lead, but we knew Robert Morris would make it a dogfight in the second half.”
Robert Morris played its best basketball after falling behind 54-29. The Colonials pulled to within 83-76 with 1:21 remaining. During the stretch, the Colonials moved the ball well, and their press was effective.
“Effort,” Toole said. “When you play with better effort, good things happen. The effort hasn't been good in the first half all season, and that's why we find ourselves in double-digit holes. After you're down 20 and are embarrassed, you start to play harder.
“A hungry dog hunts better. Everyone else in the league is hungry.”
Freshman Isaiah Still had a career-high 25 points for Robert Morris. Elijah Minnie added 18, and Rodney Pryor chipped in 12. Minnie also had 10 rebounds.
Drinnon had 18 for the Red Flash.
After the game, a couple players from the teams had to be separated.
“I don't care who started it, but that's not us,” Toole said. “I can't stand that stuff. That's how losers act. We want to win with class and lose with class. Don't act tough after you lose.”
Krimmel said sometimes things like that occur after a competitive game.
Robert Morris returns home for a three-game homestand beginning Thursday against Central Connecticut State.