Robert Morris University men’s basketball team continues its quest for a league-high eighth Northeast Conference Tournament championship Saturday by hosting No. 3 seed Bryant in a Noon tip as part of semifinal action at the Charles L. Sewall Center.
– RMU is making its eighth straight appearance in the semifinals of the Northeast Conference Tournament and its 18th overall after posting a 91-68 win over No. 7 Wagner (3/4/15) at the Sewall Center. Senior forward Lucky Jones paced RMU in the victory by tying a career high with 27 points.
– Also reaching double figures in the victory over the Seahawks for the Colonials was freshman guard Marcquise Reed, junior guard Rodney Pryor and sophomore guard Kavon Stewart. Reed supplied 22 points, five assists and three steals, Pryor chipped in 15 points, a team-high eight rebounds and a career-high seven assists and Stewart finished with 10 points and five dimes.
– The win over Wagner helped RMU match a season high with its fourth consecutive win. During their winning streak, the Colonials are averaging 82.2 points per contest while shooting 48.1 percent (116-for-241) from the field, including 48.8 percent (41-for-84) from beyond the arc.
– RMU is making its 12th consecutive appearance in the Northeast Conference Tournament, the longest streak by a member institution. All-time in the postseason tourney the Colonials own a record of 37-23 (.617).
– In a vote of league head coaches Tuesday, freshman guard Marcquise Reed was named the 2015 Northeast Conference Rookie of the Year. Reed is the fourth student-athlete from RMU to be named NEC Rookie of the Year. Reed also earned a spot on the 2015 All-NEC Rookie Team and joined senior forward Lucky Jones and junior guard Rodney Pryor on the 2015 All-NEC Second Team.
– RMU’s 71-70 overtime win over Saint Francis U. (2/28/15) in the 2014-15 regular-season finale secured the program’s 10th straight winning season, extending a school record. Since the beginning of the 2005-06 campaign, the Colonials own a record of 212-120 (.639), including a mark of 130-48 (.730) in the NEC.
– Senior forward Lucky Jones enters the semifinals 2015 Northeast Conference Tournament having scored in double figures in each of the 13 games he’s played at the Charles L. Sewall Center this season as well as 18 consecutive home games dating back to last year. This year at home, Jones is averaging 16.5 points and 6.4 rebounds at “The Chuck.”
– Freshman guard Marcquise Reed has established RMU freshman records for field goals (173) and 20-point scoring games (10) this season. Reed has scored 470 points for Robert Morris, which ranks second all-time among program rookies, trailing only the 477 points former guard Karon Abraham (2009-11) scored in 2009-10.
Wagner Tidbits – Robert Morris posted its 11th consecutive victory over Wagner at the Charles L. Sewall Center and improved to 41-25 (.621) in the all-time series against the Seahawks … RMU tied a season high by scoring 91 points, and it marks the most points the Colonials have scored in a Northeast Conference Tournament game since a 106-94 victory over Saint Francis U. (3/10/83) in the semifinals of the 1983 NEC Tournament … Robert Morris received 35 points from its bench, the most production since the reserves scored a season-high 44 points against Youngstown State (12/2/14) … RMU dished out 20 assists and improved to 4-0 this season when finishing with at least 20 dimes in a game.
Mr. Jones – Lucky Jones has saved some of the best basketball of his career for the stretch run, as the senior forward tied a career high with 27 points in a 91-68 victory over No. 7 Wagner (3/4/15) in the quarterfinals of the 2015 NEC Tournament. Jones shot 8-for-12 from the field, including 5-of-6 from deep, and finished 6-for-6 at the free-throw line. Over RMU’s last eight games, a stretch in which Jones has played six contests, the senior forward has been the leading scorer for the Colonials. He has produced averages of 18.7 points and 5.3 rebounds over that span while shooting 47.9 percent (35-for-73) from the field, including 42.9 percent (15-for-35) from beyond the arc, and 93.1 percent (27-for-29) at the free-throw line.
International Waters – RMU has consistently been at the top of the Northeast Conference much of the previous decade in regard to its three-point shooting, and the Colonials have found their touch from deep in recent weeks. Robert Morris finished 12-for-20 (60%) from beyond the arc in a 91-68 victory over No. 7 Wagner (3/4/15) in the quarterfinals of the NEC Tournament and during its four-game winning streak has shot 48.8 percent (41-for-84) from deep. In five seasons under head coach Andrew Toole, the Colonials own a record of 33-5 (.868) when converting at least 10 three-pointers in a game.
Minnie Me – Freshman forward Elijah Minnie continued his solid play in a 91-68 victory over No. 7 Wagner (3/4/15) to open the 2015 Northeast Conference Tournament by supplying seven points and seven rebounds. Over his last eight games, a stretch in which he has earned seven starts, Minnie is averaging 8.9 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game while shooting 51.9 percent (27-for-52) from the field. Minnie enters the semifinals NEC Tournament having established a new RMU freshman record for blocks with 30, an average of 1.07 per game that is tied for seventh in the league.
Southpaw – There isn’t a member of the Colonials hotter entering the semifinals of the 2015 Northeast Conference Tournament than junior guard Rodney Pryor. In a 91-68 victory over No. 7 Wagner (3/4/15) in the quarterfinals of the NEC Tournament, Pryor contributed 15 points, eight rebounds and a career-high seven assists. Pryor enters Saturday’s game against No. 3 Bryant in the semifinals of the 2015 NEC Tournament having averaged 18.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.4 assists over his last eight games while shooting 53.9 percent (55-for-102) from the field, including 54.8 percent (23-for-42) from deep, and 83.3 percent (15-for-18) at the free-throw line. Robert Morris is 16-6 (.727) this season when Pryor scores in double figures, including a mark of 7-1 (.875) when he eclipses the 20-point plateau.
Close And Late – Three of RMU’s last five games at the Charles L. Sewall Center have been decided by a point, with the Colonials posting a 2-1 (.667) record in those contests. In five seasons under head coach Andrew Toole, Robert Morris owns a record of 39-20 (.661) in games decided by five points or less, including a mark of 4-3 (.571) in games decided by just one point. In 2014-15, RMU is 6-4 (.600) in games decided by five points or less.
Shooter – Freshman guard Marcquise Reed appeared in his first Northeast Conference Tournament game in a 91-68 victory over No. 7 Wagner (3/4/15) in the quarterfinals at the Charles L. Sewall Center and contributed 22 points in the win. The performance against the Seahawks marked Reed’s 10th game this season eclipsing the 20-point plateau, extending his own RMU freshman record. Former guard and all-time leading scorer Myron Walker (1990-94) scored at least 20 points in a game eight times during his rookie campaign in 1990-91. Reed leads the Colonials this season with 470 points, which ranks second all-time in program history for points scored by a freshman.
On The Offensive – Robert Morris opened the 2015 Northeast Conference Tournament at the Charles L. Sewall Center with a 91-68 win over Wagner (3/4/15) by shooting 53.6 percent (30-for-56) from the field. In five seasons under head coach Andrew Toole, RMU owns a mark of 32-5 (.865) when shooting 50 percent or better from the field, including a mark of 25-1 (.962) against NEC opponents. Broken down against league foes, Robert Morris is 21-1 in the regular season and 3-0 in the NEC Tournament when converting at least half of its shots. Against non-conference opponents under Toole, RMU is 7-4 (.636) when turning the trick, including 1-1 (.500) in 2014-15.
Climbing The Charts – Senior forward Lucky Jones paced the Colonials in a 91-68 victory over No. 7 Wagner (3/4/15) in the quarterfinals of the NEC Tournament by tying a career high with 27 points. The performance against the Seahawks helped Jones push his career total for double-figure scoring games to 85, which ranks fourth all-time in program history. Jones enters Saturday’s game against Bryant seven double-figure scoring games away from third place, as former guard Myron Walker scored in double figures 92 times from 1990 to 1994.
Freebies – A big reason forward Lucky Jones has an opportunity to finish as one of the top five scorers in program history is due to his ability to get to the charity stripe. In 27 games this season, Jones has converted 98 of his 122 attempts at the free-throw line, a success rate of 80.3 percent that ranks sixth in the Northeast Conference. Jones owns a career percentage of 80.1 percent (434-for-542) at the chalk, which ranks ninth all-time at Robert Morris. Jones became just the second player in school history to convert at least 400 career free throws when he finished 1-for-2 at the stripe in a 63-59 overtime victory @ Mount St. Mary’s (1/22/15).
Defense Wins Championships – At the heart of the resurgence of the Robert Morris basketball program since the beginning of the 2007-08 campaign is defense. Thanks to a 91-68 win over Wagner (3/4/15) in the 2015 NEC Tournament quarterfinals, RMU improved to 136-29 (.824) over the last eight seasons when holding their opponent to less than 70 points. In five years under head coach Andrew Toole, the Colonials own a mark of 83-21 (.798) when turning the trick. Overall in the last eight years, RMU has held its opponent to under 70 points 60 percent (165-of-275) of the time.