Robert Morris holds off Bryant to maintain tempo in NEC

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Profitable ugly doesn’t should be dangerous. Robert Morris, actually, is getting used to it.

The Colonials got here out on prime for the seventh time in 9 video games since embarking on their Northeast Convention schedule with one other not-so-pretty offensive efficiency Thursday evening.

Josh Williams scored 21 factors and AJ Bramah got here off the bench to notch his seventh double-double with 14 factors and 16 rebounds to guide Robert Morris previous Bryant, 64-54, at UPMC Occasions Middle.

The Colonials, based mostly on the season to date, barely put up the factors they wanted for a victory. They’re 0-9 when it scoring 62 factors or fewer and 11-2 now when scoring not less than 63.

With how poorly the groups had been taking pictures within the first half — Robert Morris led, 10-9, with 6 minutes, 9 seconds left — it’s a surprise the groups completed with almost 120 mixed factors.

“We had been setting the sport of basketball again,” Robert Morris coach Andy Toole mentioned.

Dante Treacy chipped in 10 factors for the Colonials (11-11, 7-2), who saved tempo with league-leading Merrimack (7-1 NEC) by gaining their second consecutive victory after an unpleasant 21-point loss at St. Francis-Brooklyn on Jan. 23 to stay in second place a half-game behind the leaders.

“Our guys did a extremely, very nice job defensively, particularly within the first half once we weren’t making some photographs early on,” Toole mentioned. “Actually been happy with the way in which they proceed to defend. There’s been some occasions earlier this yr the place if we’re not making photographs, our defensive power may ebb and stream. However our guys stayed actually locked in and did an ideal job.”

Robert Morris led for the complete second half after taking a nine-point halftime lead, however Bryant crept inside 57-54 on a 3-point shot by Benson Lin with 2:44 remaining.

From that time, Robert Morris blanked the Bulldogs, 7-0, to carry on.

Michael Inexperienced III led Bryant (10-11, 2-6) with 12 factors. Charles Satisfaction and Adam Grant added 11 apiece. Patrick Harding grabbed 12 rebounds and Corridor Elisias added 10 for the Bulldogs, who held a 44-43 edge in boards.

“We had been ready to determine some issues in the direction of the tip of the primary half and get Josh a pair open appears to be like that he was capable of step up and make,” Toole mentioned. “Within the second half, we received sufficient stops once we wanted to and had been capable of execute our offense once we wanted to.”

Brothers Josh and Jon Williams agreed the Colonials are carving an id as a gritty workforce this yr.

“It’s really an ideal id to have,” mentioned Jon Williams, who completed with 9 factors and 6 assists for Robert Morris, which stays at dwelling for a 1 p.m. Saturday recreation in opposition to Central Connecticut State.

“Protection is what wins video games. You’ve received to get a cease while you want one and a basket while you want one. Being that gritty workforce, we’re beginning to discover our id. I’m not going to say we prefer it like that. In fact, we love making photographs and all people’s high-fiving, however typically you do should play ugly and grind out the video games.”

After shaking unfastened with a late first-half flurry, Robert Morris saved the momentum to begin the second half. Josh Williams’ 3-point shot gave the Colonials their largest lead, 37-24, earlier than Bryant mounted a comeback.

A 12-2 run pulled the Bulldogs inside 39-36 with 12:34 left. Grant scored seven consecutive factors for the Bulldogs, together with a pair of free throws courtesy of a technical foul name on Toole, who later admitted he seemingly grew to become too sarcastic in his dialogue with officers over their calls.

The Colonials then went on a run of their very own, outscoring Bryant, 15-7, to regain management.

A deadeye taking pictures show it wasn’t.

Robert Morris was taking pictures 19% for the sport with below 7 minutes to play within the first half. At the moment, Bryant was taking pictures 13.3.

But, Bryant nonetheless was main RMU till the Colonials started to search out the vary and outscored the Bulldogs the remainder of the way in which till halftime, 16-8, capped by Josh Williams’ buzzer-beating 3-point shot, giving Robert Morris a 26-17 benefit.

Each groups’ taking pictures percentages improved by recreation’s finish, Robert Morris’ markedly greater than Bryant’s. The Colonials completed at 37.3 (22 for 59 general, 10 for 23 from 3-point vary) and the Bulldogs at 28.8 (17 for 59 general, 7 for 28 from behind the arc).

“We’ve had nice taking pictures video games, poor taking pictures video games and in every single place in between,” Toole mentioned, “however the protection has received to be constant. Once we guard, we give ourselves an opportunity.”

Dave Mackall is a Tribune-Overview contributing author.


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