Thursday, January 31, 2013

Game Day: RMU at St. Francis Brooklyn

Tonight, the Robert Morris Colonials (14-7, 6-1) begins a tough six game stretch at St. Francis Brooklyn (8-11, 4-4). The Terriers are coming off a two point loss last Saturday at Central Connecticut State and are losers of three of their last four. Tip off is at 7:00 and the game can be caught on or locally on the radio at 730 AM WPIT. Andrew Chiappazzi of has some interesting insight on the defensive-minded Terriers, as Robert Morris looks to extend their six game win streak: 

St. Francis-Brooklyn is one of just two teams allowing less than a point per possession in the NEC. The Terriers also lead the league in scoring defense in NEC games, as well as 3-point field goal percentage defense. 
"They just don't give you anything easy. They make you work for everything, even ball reversals and coming off screens," Toole said. "They're physical, they disrupt your timing, and they have a really good combination of guys that can pressure on the perimeter and then bigs that can defend the paint. They do a nice job of switching defenses from zone to man to disrupt your timing." 
Offensively, the Terriers are balanced. Five players average eight points per game or more, highlighted by sophomore forward Jalen Cannon's 16.4 points per game and 9.5 rebounds per game.
Defense is the name of the game for St. Francis-NY, but they haven't been able to get that going consistently the last four games. Just a week ago, St. Francis held LIU to only 21 first half points. The result? LIU hanging a 57 spot in the second half en route to a ten point victory. St. Francis is 4-4 in conference, but when you look at their schedule, they're lacking that quality win that they can hang their hat on. At this point, their best win is probably a blowout win at Wagner. 

You would hope RMU is one hundred percent focused at the task at hand, but lets face it: everyone has Saturday's showdown at LIU circled on the calender. This could easily be a trap game, especially if Lucky Jones is a no-go, which I would expect. I would expect to see more three-guard sets on the court than usual, specifically a Velton Jones-Coron Williams-Karvel Anderson trio. Neither of the three guys are people I would classify as other-worldly defenders, but can definitely hold their own on defense and would create spacing problems for the Terriers defense. 

As Andrew noted, slowing down sophomore forward Jalen Cannon is going to be a task (along with Akeem Johnson). I'm interested to see how the defense handles a balanced scoring attack; you have to respect all of the guys out on the court. Doubling Canon on the low post could lead to open looks for a guy like Ben Mockford. I would like to see the boys come out and bring a stout defensive effort tonight even without Lucky Jones. 

My prediction? How about some more momentum heading into Saturday's 3:00 game at LIU (which can be seen on ESPNU)... RMU: 75 St. Francis Brooklyn: 65. 

--Chris Cappella

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