NCAAB

Robert Morris fails to checkmate the Knights, despite McConnell’s return to game action

The Robert Morris Colonials (13-12, 7-5) fell to the Fairleigh Dickinson Knights (8-15, 5-7) as Matty McConnell returned to the lineup after missing the game against Mt. Saint Mary’s (14-11, 8-4) due to him going through concussion protocol.

Both teams would trade shots early in the first.  After falling behind early though, Robert Morris wouldn’t let Fairleigh Dickinson extend their lead by more than six in the first ten minutes of the game.  Once the Knights did get that lead of six, their largest at the point, the Colonials would go on a 7-0 run to make it a 17-16 game at the nine minute mark.  That lead would be Robert Morris’s last of the game.

From then on, Fairleigh Dickinson would control the action.  They would regain the lead a little over a minute later and control the game.  For the rest of the first half, Robert Morris would keep the game competitive as the deficit wouldn’t pass six until under a minute.  At the 43 second mark, Darnell Edge would hit a three pointer, giving the Knights a nine point lead.  Fairleigh Dickinson would end up crossing the double digit mark with two seconds left after a Ronnie Gombe foul would lead to two made free throws by Jahlil Jenkins.  At the half, the lead would be 37-26 in favor of the Knights.

In the second, the Colonials would outscore the Knights 41-36, but never brought the score within a basket.  Robert Morris would trim the lead all the way down to four a couple of times, but was excluded from bringing the game any closer.  The final score in the contest would be 73-67 in favor of Fairleigh Dickinson.

Despite the disappointing outcome, a few players did have strong nights for the Colonials.  Dachon Burke, in particular, had yet another great performance as he led the team in points (19) and rebounds (8).  Burke also had five assists in the game.  Koby Thomas was almost equally impressive as he finished the game second in points (18) for the Colonials and tied Burke for the team lead in rebounds (8).  The only other Colonial to score above ten points would be Charles Bain who finished the night with 15 points.

What has been the theme for the Colonials’ five conference losses this year, the team shot strong in one half, while struggling in the other.  In this particular case the half that Robert Morris would struggle in would be the first.  During the entire game, Robert Morris would have only two leads and the score would only be tied a total of two times.  Those two times were at 2-2 and 7-7 in the first half.

Furthermore, the Colonials still have an issue with all of their key players not being able to contribute at the same time.  In their last game against Wagner for example, Matty McConnell and Leondre Washington had two of the best games in their careers while Dachon Burke and Koby Thomas struggled.  Today, the opposite of that took place as Burke and Thomas put up strong numbers while McConnell finished with five points and Leondre Washington went 0-6 from the field.

The Colonials look to be more consistent in their next game against St. Francis Brooklyn (10-14, 7-5) on Thursday.  Both St. Francis schools lost on Saturday, so only Mt. Saint Marys passed Robert Morris in the standings.  The Colonials are also tied with LIU Brooklyn (12-13, 7-5), in addition to the two St. Francis schools, for third place in the NEC.  With only four games left in conference play, the only way that Robert Morris can pass Wagner (17-6, 10-2) for the regular season conference title is if the Colonials win out and the Seahawks lose out.

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