Robert Morris basketball recovers from slump, squeaks past Lehigh


The lackluster season of the Robert Morris basketball team has found hope in a victory over Lehigh 69-67 in the final non-conference home game of the season.

In a matchup which should’ve been an easy game to win, the Robert Morris basketball team ended up in another fight to obtain a victory.

“During our losing streak we were searching for small wins. This is the definition of a small win. We can teach positives.” said head coach Andy Toole in his post game press conference.

From the start of the game, Elijah Minnie was the one to take control for Robert Morris, with a defensive rebound and two jumpers inside the arc to give his team their first four points of the night.

The sophomore continued his stellar play the rest of the night, shooting 50 percent overall for nine points. Minnie was even able to sink a three pointer while being well contested by Lehigh’s Jesse Chucku early in the second half.

Lehigh struggled in the first half from deep, shooting a horrific 2-13 from three point range. The Colonials were able to capitalize on their missed shots by grabbing 14 defensive rebounds in the half.

The momentum the Colonials had on the defensive end they were able to carry over on the offensive end and score when it counted, shooting perfect from the free throw line on eight attempts in the first half.

Heading into halftime only up by a basket, Robert Morris shifted their focus towards their senior Rodney Pryor, hoping to find some leadership in him to help carry the team on to a win. The guard scored a game-high 27 points in Robert Morris’ previous game against Columbia, so it’s no surprise they relied on him again tonight to get the job done.

Pryor provided exactly what they needed, shooting 5-7 in the second half, including going 2-4 from beyond the arc.

In the final two minutes of the game, the Colonials still remained up by just two points, when Lehigh’s Austin Price was able to tie it up inside the paint, an area in which Robert Morris has struggled this year. RMU’s Kavon Stewart was able to quickly answer him with his own bucket in the paint, regaining the lead with just over a minute left to play.

The Colonials were able to force two turnovers when they needed it most, and held off Lehigh to escape with their second win of the season.

Other stars for Robert Morris in the game included Billy Giles, who went 3-5 on the night after recording his first career double-double in their last outing. Freshman star Matty McConnell also continued to prove his future with the team shooting 4-8 and making both of his free throws.

Bobby Mo still has some problems it needs to fix, but tonight was certainly a step in the right direction. They still need a permanent answer down low, and when Aaron Tate returns from his injury there is little promise he will be that guy.

If I were Andy Toole, I’d put strong consideration into giving forward Andre Frederick some more time out on the court. Frederick has a 60 percent field goal percentage and is a tall man who can be taught to increase his rebounding skill.

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The Colonials will return to action on Saturday when they face Duquesne in an inner-city rival game that always is full of action. Tip off is slated for 2:00 PM EST.