Thursday, February 21, 2013

Game Day: RMU vs Monmouth

The Robert Morris Colonials (18-9, 10-4) will play hosts to the Monmouth Hawks (10-17, 5-9) at the Charles L. Sewall Center. This is an important game for Monmouth, winners of two of their last three, as they find themselves on the outside looking in for the NEC tournament, which takes eight of the twelve possible teams. Tip-off is at seven and you can catch the game by heading out to the Chuck (suggested) or by listening in on 730 WPIT AM. We encourage you to take a look at the's game preview, as Andrew Chiappazzi puts a lot of focus on the near-future of Colonial guard Velton Jones:

But Jones is an integral part of the team. With road contests looming against Bryant and Central Connecticut State, might an extra few days of rest benefit him? That's the dilemma Toole faces. Does he sit Jones and hope the rest of his team pulls out wins like they did Saturday against Sacred Heart? Does he risk playing Jones both games to ensure he's playing with a full deck? Or does he sit Jones on Thursday and play him sparingly so his star senior can be recognized with fellow starterRussell Johnson and walk-ons Treadwell Lewis andShane Sweigart on Saturday?
Toole wasn't tipping his hand, saying Tuesday he'd discuss all the options with his staff, Jones, and the team trainers.
"One of the things about Velton is he's earned the right to make some decisions about his career and how he wants to finish it out," Toole said. "He has a lot of trust of the coaching staff, so it'll be a conversation about what he thinks is best and how he's feeling."
Those are some interesting comments by Toole there,as he essentially said it's up to Velton on if he wants to play or not. As we saw last Thursday at Quinnipiac, Jones was in street clothes until about 20 minutes from tip when he decided he wanted to give it a go. Not the smartest idea (especially in hindsight, although I said he shouldn't have played the whole time) after a 3-13 shooting night, but I get it. He's Velton Jones, one of the toughest players in college basketball and he's earned the right in his senior year to decide on whether he wants to play or not. 

With all of the being said, I hope Toole is really careful with this situation. I would prefer to rest Jones up this game and play him very sparingly Saturday against FDU... let him enjoy senior night but have him ready to go for the last two games on the road at Bryant and Central Connecticut State. 

This could be a tricky game. Jones is banged up with his shoulder/pec and Karvel Anderson could be limited with a wrist. Monmouth is a desperate team who needs to leapfrog St. Francis Brooklyn and CCSU in the standings to make the field of eight. It has been a disappointing season for a still-young MU squad, who were a darkhorse pick by some to finish at least in the middle of the pack in the NEC. Still, the Colonials defense is going to have to show up and shut down sophomore Andrew Nicholas, who is averaging nearly 14 points per game. 

Overall, RMU needs this one to stay atop the NEC. LIU is taking on a hot Mount St. Mary's team on the road, which could be a tough game for them. If Velton is a no-go, expect a lot of am Anthony  Myers-Pate-Coron Williams-Lucky Jones-Russell Johnson-Mike McFadden lineup with not a lot of subbing with Anderson battling his wrist injury and David Appolon's recent poor play. 

Score prediction: RMU takes down Monmouth, almost effectively ending their season, 70-59.

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