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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 30, 8 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Charles L. Sewall Center (3,056) -- Moon Township, Pennsylvania. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: Bryant 9-2, RMU 6-1. Away Record: Bryant 4-5, RMU 5-9. Neutral Record: Bryant 0-1, RMU 0-0. Conference Record: Bryant 5-1, RMU 6-0. Series Record: Robert Morris leads, 7-1.
GAME NOTES: The top two teams in the Northeast Conference will collide at the Sewall Center on Thursday evening, as the Robert Morris Colonials play host to the Bryant University Bulldogs.
Robert Morris sits atop the NEC standings with a perfect 6-0 mark, following a 74-70 win over Wagner this past weekend. The team's league record is equal to its current win streak, although continued success will be that much harder with recent indefinite suspensions to four players, leaving the Colonials a bit understaffed heading forward.
Eager to take advantage has to be Bryant, which sits just one game back in the NEC with a strong 5-1 record. The Bulldogs bring a four-game win streak into this contest following last Saturday's 83-79 shootout win over St. Francis Brooklyn.
This marks the ninth all-time meeting between these two teams. Robert Morris has dominated the series with wins in seven of the previous eight matchups, including a 71-67 win on Jan. 11, in the first meeting in Smithfield.
An efficient and explosive squad, Bryant comes into this game averaging 75.9 ppg on a healthy .473 shooting. Those numbers have increased to 82.3 ppg and an impressive .506 shooting in league play. It certainly helps to have two of the top three scorers in the NEC in the lineup. Dyami Starks leads the conference in scoring at 20.5 ppg, thanks in large part to his 68-of-170 showing from behind the arc. Alex Francis isn't far behind, ranking third in the NEC at 19.1 ppg. The 6-foot-6 senior leads the team on the boards, grabbing 7.5 rpg. Corey Maynard rounds out the team's top scoring threats, with 12.8 ppg.
The Bulldogs trailed St. Francis Brooklyn by two points at halftime, but scored a whopping 50 points after the break to earn the home win last time out. Starks was dynamic in the victory, going 9-of-14 from the floor, with four 3-pointers, while going 9-of-10 from the free-throw line to total a game- high 31 points. Francis recorded a double-double with 19 points and 12 rebounds, while Maynard added 13 points and seven boards to the cause.
While Robert Morris will be shorthanded for an undetermined amount of time, only the loss of freshman Jeremiah Worthem (8.9 ppg, 4.1 rpg) is reason for concern. Worthem ranks third on a team that doesn't have a lot of scoring depth. Karvel Anderson and Lucky Jones will need to step up and fill the void even more now. Anderson has already taken on a good portion of the offensive burden for the Colonials, ranking fourth in the conference in scoring at 19.0 ppg. Anderson has been lights out shooting the basketball, hitting 52.2 percent overall, including 47.7 percent from 3-point range (72-of-151). Jones adds 14.1 ppg to the mix and paces Robert Morris in rebounding (6.3 rpg) and steals (28).
Robert Morris didn't shoot the ball well overall (.426), but did go 10-of-17 from behind the arc in earning a four-point win over Wagner this past weekend and remain unbeaten in league play. Anderson was responsible for four of those triples, finishing with a game-high 21 points. Anthony Myers-Pate added 12 points and Jones and Kavon Stewart chipped in with 10 apiece.
Being shorthanded hasn't cost the Colonials yet, but that could change in a hurry with the explosive Bulldogs coming in with their sights on the top spot in the NEC.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Bryant 73, Robert Morris 70
01/30 10:38:33 ET
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