FACTS & STATS: Site: Charles L. Sewall Center (3,056) -- Moon Township,
Pennsylvania. Television: None. Home Record: St. Francis 6-6, RMU 11-2. Away
Record: St. Francis 6-10, RMU 10-6. Neutral Record: St. Francis 0-1, RMU 1-1.
Conference Record: St. Francis 8-10, RMU 14-4. Series Record: Robert Morris
GAME NOTES: The 32nd annual Northeast Conference Tournament gets underway on
Wednesday night as the top-seeded Robert Morris Colonials host the Terriers of
St. Francis (NY) at the Sewall Center in the Keystone State.
Robert Morris, which is the most successful team in this tournament dating
back to the early 1980's when it won the first two titles against Long Island,
has taken the trophy a total of seven times and has played in the championship
game in each of the last four years. Despite losing to Long Island in both
2011 and 2012, the Colonials return this time around as the favorite after
posting a record of 14-4 in conference play and 22-9 overall during the
As for the Terriers, they needed a 92-80 win in the season finale against
Sacred Heart over the weekend in order to secure the eighth and final spot in
the tourney. The victory was just the third in the last nine outings for a St.
Francis squad that has yet to win the tournament title and has a record of
just 10-23 in the event over the years.
Robert Morris owns a 38-26 advantage in the all-time series with the Terriers,
although St. Francis has actually won two in a row over the Colonials,
including a 71-61 decision at the end of January in Brooklyn.
The winner of the meeting this time around will advance to the semifinals of
the tournament on Saturday, with the matchups to be determined based on the
seedings of the teams that advance.
Drawing the most attention on the St. Francis roster is Jalen Cannon who led
the team in both scoring (14.7 ppg) and rebounding (8.9 rpg), shooting an
impressive 55.4 percent from the floor as he spent most of his time in the
paint for the Terriers. Named to the All-NEC Second Team, Cannon was a member
of the All-Rookie Team in the NEC last season and has shown considerable
progress on offense for the program. Also playing a key role for the squad is
Ben Mockford (11.4 ppg) who, despite shooting only 39.4 percent from the floor
overall, was actually more accurate beyond the arc (.404) where he knocked
down a team-best 82 attempts, the rest of the roster combining to make 122
triples. Akeem Johnson was responsible for 10.1 ppg and 5.8 rpg as well.
While the Colonials certainly pride themselves on having a staunch defense,
holding opponents to just 65.8 ppg overall in 2012-13 and 65.2 ppg versus
league foes, the squad still recognizes the fact that 3-point shooting has
been very good to them at the offensive end of the floor as well. In
conference play the team is converting 40.7 percent beyond the arc, hitting a
total of 164 triples compared to only 98 for the competition. Overall this
year, Karvel Anderson (12.7 ppg) and Coron Williams (9.3 ppg) have been
leading the way out on the perimeter with a combined 141 3-pointers which
leaves them nine shy of the all-time mark set by a tandem in a single season
for RMU. While they attack on the outside, Lucky Jones (11.7 ppg) goes after
teams in the paint with his 6.1 rpg.
The Terriers may have caught lightning in a bottle with their win over RMU
earlier this season, but now that the stakes are much higher the Colonials
will not be so forgiving.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Robert Morris 72, St. Francis (NY) 61