Robert Morris (0-2) vs. Fordham (0-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Monday, November 12, 6 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Petersen Events Center (12,508) -- Pittsburgh,
Pennsylvania. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: Robert Morris 0-1, Fordham
0-0. Away Record: Robert Morris 0-0, Fordham 0-1. Neutral Record: Robert
Morris 0-1, Fordham 0-1. Conference Record: Robert Morris 0-0, Fordham 0-0.
Series Record: Robert Morris leads, 1-0.
GAMES NOTES: Robert Morris and Fordham both go in search of their first win
of the 2012-13 season, as the two teams square off at the Petersen Events
Center in Pittsburgh in a consolation game of the NIT Season Tip-Off.
Robert Morris lost to Lehigh by a wide margin in its first game in this
tournament, 89-60. The Colonials trailed by double digits for nearly three
fourths of the contest, as they were never able to get closer after going down
22-11 at the 9:34 mark. The loss put the Colonials, who have posted 23 or more
wins in four of the last five seasons, at 0-2 on the young season.
It has not been a particularly strong start to the 2012-13 campaign for
Fordham. The Rams were blown out by an 86-51 final on Monday against host
Pittsburgh. That loss was quite a bit worse than the Rams' season-opening
defeat at Texas State (86-76). Still, defense has been virtually non-existent
in the first two games with the team surrendering an average of 86 points per
game while lagging behind at just 63.5 ppg itself.
Both teams will await the results of Tuesday's games in the regional finals to
determine where they will play in the consolation bracket on either Nov. 19
or Nov. 20.
The Colonials took the only previous matchup between these two squads with a
72-66 win on the road back in 2007.
Turnovers and poor shooting hurt Robert Morris in its loss to Lehigh. The
Colonials shot just 33.9 percent in the game, which included a 4-of-22 effort
from beyond the arc and they also turned the ball over 21 times. All those
giveaways added up to a 25-7 advantage for Lehigh in points off turnovers.
Offensive woes have been a theme early on this season with Robert Morris
scoring only 57 points per game while shooting just 30.1 percent from the
floor as a team. Velton Jones, last year's leading scorer, took a step forward
offensively in the loss to Lehigh, After scoring only eight points in the
season-opening loss to Rider, Jones got into double figures for the first time
this season with a 12-point showing against Lehigh. The Colonials are still
waiting for Coron Williams (10.8 ppg in 2011), who was the only other double-
digit scorer on the team last season to get going. Williams has scored just
nine points through the first two games after a two-point performance against
Lehigh. Karvel Anderson struggled from the floor in the loss to the Mountain
Hawks, connecting on only 2-of-9 shots for five points. Anderson was the only
player in double figures (11 points) against Rider. The Colonials can take
away a positive thanks to the play of Mike McFadden, who posted a 13-point,
13-rebound effort. McFadden was a fixture in the starting lineup last season
but did not produce at such a high level (8.4 ppg, 4.3 rpg) as it was his
first career double-double.
Offensive struggles again plagued Fordham in its recent loss to Pittsburgh.
The Rams shot just 36.6 percent from the floor, primarily due to a shaky first
half (6-of-23). The Rams were also guilty of 19 turnovers. All the giveaways
were especially painful with the Panthers outscoring the Rams, 28-4, on points
off turnovers. Fordham was also dominated inside, scoring a mere 12 points in
the paint compared to 42 by Pitt.
Getting so beat up inside is not an issue that Fordham expected to deal with
especially with forward Chris Gaston on the inside. Gaston was the leading
scorer a season ago while averaging nearly 10 rebounds per game (9.9 pg).
However against Pittsburgh, Gaston was kept largely in check scoring only four
points while pulling down six rebounds. While those six boards were a team
high, they were a far cry from the 14 he gathered against Texas State. With
Gaston slowed, Bryan Smith and Jeff Short stepped into unfamiliar roles
leading the team in scoring with 11 points a piece. Smith's scoring was a bit
more expected after he tallied 16 points in the season opener after averaging
9.6 ppg a year ago. Short had only scored a single point in the opener and did
not get into double figures at all last season. Like Gaston, Branden Frazier
failed to duplicate his efforts from the opener and the previous season, as he
finished with only four points. The junior scored 18 against Texas State and
has averaged 11.4 points per game during his three-year career.
Each team has dug itself an early hole. For one of them to begin the climb
out, improvements on offense need to be made. Gaston is unlikely to have
another poor performance and should be just fine against the Colonials. If
Gaston plays at the level he is capable of the Rams will roll.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Fordham 67, Robert Morris 60
11/13 10:46:06 ET
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