Whatever else you can say about the Robert Morris Colonials, they are working on forcing turnovers. They've already stolen 21 balls in a single game back in November, and are averaging just under 10 Steals a game. The Wildcats better take care of the ball tonight.
Directing the Colonials from the bench is head coach Mark Schmidt - in his fourth season, originally out of Boston College where he played in the NIT and NCAA's [reaching the sweet 16].
But things haven't been as rosy since Schmidt took over the Colonial program. He's come close to .500 a couple of times - last year the record was 14-15. Overall, Schmidt is 38-56 as a head coach out in Moon Township.
This year, the record isn't much better, so far 2-6, but look who they've lost to: Ohio State [82-50], Virginia [88-55], Pittsburg [83-59]. Yes, they're on a 3 game losing streak, but in two of those games the margin was under 10 points. Robert Morris is playing the big boys, and while they're not winning the "money games," they''ve got to be getting better from the experience. They've only got 10 active players on the roster, Schmidt has played 9 of them so far this year.
The Colonials are led by Senior Guard Maurice Carter [6-0]. He's their scoring leader - averaging 16.5 points a game over the last 6 games but sometimes falls victim to streaky play. Or mayby its good defense slowing him up. In any case, stop Carter and at first it appears that you can really slow down a big part of the Colonial's offense.
Unfortunately, there are two other Robert Morris players averaging in double figures - 6-6 Senior Forward Chaz McCrommon [#24 -left] and 6-6 Senior Center Mark Anderson [#15].
McCrommon averages 14.5 a game with 6+ rebounds, Anderson is right behind with 12.9 ppg and 5.+ boards. Anderson is deadly accurate with his 3 pointers when he takes them - he's 3 of 4 this year. McCrommon has tried more from the arc, but is only 4 of 18 out there.
The other forward is Junior Joe Ison [#1 6-6]. He's #4 on the scoring list with 8.6 points and averages 5.1 rebounds. Put the front line together and you have a lot of points and rebounds. Once again, the Cats can't double up everyone and there are three guys on this team [Carter, McCrommon and Anderson] who can really hurt you if they get going.
Then there's Freshman Guard Tony Lee [6-0], averaging just under 13 minutes a game off the bench, considered the Colonial's top rebounder - even though he's averaging just 3.3 a game.
His coach says he plays bigger than his size [remember Jitim?] and compares him to a pit bull. There are those who say if you let him play a full game, he'd average a double double every night. He plays about a 1/3 of the game, 3 times 3.3 rpg or 4.9 ppg -- well you can do the math, they're probably right. Woof.
Also off the bench for the Colonials is Freshman Forward Beau Gibb [#12 6-8] - he started the first 2 games, and has had his minutes decrease, but he still averages just under 5 points and 2 rebounds.
There are also the three amigos on the Colonial team, all from Charlestown High School in Boston. Starter Derek Coleman, Tony Lee and fellow Frosh Guard/Forward Cori Boston [6-5] all played on 3 state championship teams. They're trying to bring that game to Pittsburg, but remember they're still underclassmen. Not sure I'd want to play these guys in 2 years.
The danger tonight is that these guys all come from decent high school programs, but like the Wildcats in the past, they don't have quite the height to compete with the big guys. They lost their last game because they were out rebounded 45-25.
Tonight expect them to be working on blocking out and getting more rebounds. They still get most of their rebounds from their starters.
They also have demonstrated that they can shut down a given player on any given night - they did it in their last game.
The 3 Charlestown kids are used to winning and winning big - let them loose and they can literally pick you to death with outside jumpers. The Charlestown 3 average 10.2 points a night, with only one playing more than half a game.
Coach Roy's Purple Reign Categories:
|The Big Gun||#3 Maurice Carter
||Shooting 47%, scoring 15.1 points per game
|Deadeye Dick||#12 Beau Gibb
||Shooting .560 off the bench with a .550 3 point average
|The Bomber||#3 Maurice Carter
||Attempted 46 from the arc Hits 45.7% out there
|Off the Boards||#24 Chaz McCrommon &
# 42 Tony Lee
|6.3 rebounds a game but...Lee is considered the best rebounder
|Charity Stripe||#13 Derek Coleman
||He's 6 of 6 from the FT line but
Mark Anderson is hitting 75% with more attempts
|Super Sub||#12 Beau Gibb
||14.6 minutes, 4.9 points a game
||#24 Chaz McCrommon
# 1 Joe Ison
|McCrommon has 13 steals -
Ison has 12
|Helping Hands||#3 Maurice Carter
||averages 3.4 assists a game
|Forward||#24 Chaz McCrommon [Sr 6-6]
# 1 Joseph Ison [Jr. 6-6]
|Center||# 15 Mark Anderson [Sr 6-6]
|Guard||#13 Derek Coleman [So 5-11]
# 3 Maurice Carter [Sr 6-0]
Freshman Forward Beau Gibb started the first 2 games, but was replaced by Ison
Off the Bench
[Played in most games, or Avging 9+ mins]:
|Forward||#12 Beau Gibb [Fr 6-8]
|Guard||#23 Christopher Gooden [Sr 6-1]
#25 Cori Boston [Fr 6-5]
#42 Tony Lee [Fr 6-0]
Robert Morris gets a fair amount of points off the bench, but they still lage 4 points behind opponents in scoring - it should be more, but they have that 107-47 win skewing the numbers. They're also -6 in rebounds. They do average 7.6 steals a game but they still have 14+ turnovers a game.
Challenges for the Wildcats:
- Defense - this time the game is against a couple of good inside shooters and an outside shooting guard.
- Dominate the Paint - our entire front line roster is 3-4 inches taller than the tallest [6-8] Colonial, Gibb, and he's riding pine right now.
- Step up and score - right now T.J. Parker seems to be the only guy who can break a zone.
- Play our game - work the NU Offense to the max, and score on transition if we get the chance.
- Make the "bunnies" - you know those pesky layups?
NU should win this one going away...but sometimes we play to the level of our opponent until its too late. You sure hope tonight isn't one of those nights.
TV: No TV Scheduledc
Radio: WGN with Dave [Mr. Wildcat] Eanet and probably Shon [Big Cat] Morris. Its also on WPIT 730 AM in Pittsburg.
Gametracker: NU Sports,
Beat 'em All!
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