With Matty McConnell in street clothes due to the concussion protocol, Robert Morris (13-11, 7-4) lost to Mount Saint Mary’s (13-11, 7-4) on Thursday by the score of 67-42.
In the first, the lack of veteran leadership was noticeable. After starting the game 6-4, a score in favor of the Mountaineers, Mount Saint Mary’s would go on a 27-0 run until the 5:46 mark in the game. With six freshman seeing significant minutes, and only two players who have played significantly under coach Toole before this year (McConnell, Burke), the youth of the team collapsed without their leader on the court.
Robert Morris would go into halftime trailing 40-15. During that stretch, the Colonials were 0-13 shooting. Shooting issues have become too familiar with Robert Morris recently, most notably in their losses against Wagner. In the first of those two losses the team failed to make a three pointer in the entire second half (0-11) while in the second loss the team shot 18.8% from the field in the second half.
Robert Morris would end up losing the game 67-42 after tying Mount Saint Mary’s 27-27 in the second half.
The game shows the youth of this team. These shooting issues stems from the youth of this team. While the talent is unquestionable, Robert Morris’s issues has not been entirely consistent with their shooting. For example, in their last loss against Wagner, the Colonials shot 60% from the field, including 61.5% from the three point line, then shot 18.8% in the second. Furthermore, in this contest the Colonials shot 19.1% in the first before shooting 42.3% in the second.
The Colonials have the talent to compete in the NEC. Unfortunately the youth of this team has, proved to be a deciding factor in games against their big conference opponents (Wagner 2x, St. Francis and Mt. Saint Mary’s). Not being without Matty McConnell for any long stretch of time could hurt Robert Morris. While Matty has had his fair share of struggles this season, his leadership ability and full on effort have kept this young team together. While Thursday’s loss shouldn’t be blamed solely on not having McConnell, him not being there clearly had some effect on Robert Morris.
The Colonials now sit tied for second in the NEC with three other teams. Those teams are St. Francis (13-9, 7-4), Mount Saint Mary’s and St. Francis Brooklyn (10-13, 7-4). All three now sit two games behind Wagner (16-6, 9-2) who now seems poised to run away with the regular season NEC title in belt.
As for the Colonials, their next game will be Saturday against Fairleigh Dickinson (7-15, 4-7). That game is at 2pm and takes place at PPG Paints Arena.