Recap of city game-Colonials lost a tough game to the Dukes, now back on the road in NEC play.
According to a poll of Northeast Conference (NEC) head coaches, the Robert Morris University men’s basketball team has been picked to finish second in the NEC in 2015-16. The poll was released as part of the conference’s fourth annual NEC Social Media Day, held at the Barclays Event Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Mount St. Mary’s, which received six first-place votes, was selected as the preseason favorite in 2015-16. The Colonials earned a trio of first-place votes, while Bryant, tabbed to finish third, earned on first-place tally.
Rounding out the poll is LIU Brooklyn, St. Francis Brooklyn, Wagner, Sacred Heart, Saint Francis U., Fairleigh Dickinson and Central Connecticut.
The preseason prediction of second for Robert Morris in 2015-16 marks the 10th consecutive year the Colonials have been picked to finish in the top three in the league. RMU was tabbed second in 2006, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 and third in 2008, 2009 and 2014.
In addition to being selected third in the 2015 NEC Preseason Coaches Poll, senior guard Rodney Pryor was named to the 2015-16 Preseason All-NEC Team. Joining Pryor on the squad were guards Byron Ashe of Mount St. Mary’s and Cane Broome of Sacred Heart and forwards Dan Garvin of Bryant and Gregory Graves of Mount St. Mary’s.
Pryor, 6’5″ and 205 pounds, led the Colonials in scoring last season by averaging 15.6 points per game. He also provided RMU with an average of 4.7 rebounds per game and ranked second in the NEC in three-point field goal percentage (.429) and fourth in three-point field goals made per game (2.31).
Pryor finished sixth in the NEC scoring racing last year and is one of just two student-athletes returning in 2015-16 that finished in the top 10 in the league in scoring, joining Broome, who finished eighth at 14.5 points per contest.
Led by sixth-year head coach Andrew Toole, RMU returns four starters and six letterwinners from a squad that posted an overall record of 20-15 (.571) in 2014-15, including a mark of 12-6 (.667) in the NEC. The Colonials claimed their league high eighth NEC Tournament title and subsequent bid to the NCAA Tournament thanks to a 66-63 victory over No. 1 seed St. Francis Brooklyn March 10, 2015, at the Pope P.E. Center in Brooklyn Heights, N.Y.
In the 2015 NCAA Tournament, Robert Morris earned its first tourney win since 1983 and just its second overall in program history with an 81-77 victory over North Florida in the NCAA First Four. In the second round, the Colonials fell to eventual national champion Duke.
Joining Pryor as a returning starter for RMU in 2015-16 are senior forward Aaron Tate, sophomore forward Elijah Minnie and junior guard Kavon Stewart.
Tate, 6’5″ and 230 pounds, averaged 3.8 points and 4.4 rebounds last season, while Minnie, 6’8″ and 210 pounds, established a Robert Morris single-season record for blocks (36) and supplied averages of 6.8 points and 4.9 rebounds per contest.
The 6’0″, 190-pound Stewart started a team-high 32 games last season and is RMU’s active leader in assists with 240. Stewart ranked second in the NEC last season in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.84) and fourth in both assists and steals, posting per game averages of 4.59 and 1.65, respectively.
Robert Morris enters the 2015-16 campaign having posted an overall record of 183-96 (.696) over the last eight years, with the 193 victories ranked ninth among mid-major programs during that span. The Colonials have appeared in a postseason tournament in seven of the last eight seasons, including three trips each to the NCAA Tournament (2009, 2010, 2015) and NIT (2008, 2013, 2014) as well as a spot in 2012 CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT).
RMU opens the 2015-16 season by hosting an exhibition game against St. Vincent in a 7:00 p.m. tip Tuesday, Nov. 3, at the Charles L. Sewall Center. The Colonials will open the 2015-16 regular season Friday, Nov. 13, in Philadelphia, Pa., with a 6:00 p.m. tip against Penn at the Palestra.