St. Francis-PA (10-20) at Robert Morris (20-12)
GAME NOTES: The second Northeast Conference Tournament semifinal matchup to determine the final NEC championship game participant will be a battle between the sixth-seeded St. Francis (Pa.) Red Flash taking on the top-seeded Robert Morris Colonials at the Sewall Center.
St. Francis had just a dismal time navigating through non-conference play this season. The Red Flash didn't win their fourth game until a Jan. 25 matchup against Sacred Heart, which turned St. Francis' season around. The Red Flash lost their last two games of the regular season, but managed to take down third-seeded Bryant on Wednesday night, 55-54, in the NEC quarterfinal round of the tournament.
Robert Morris also had a tough time getting through non-conference action at the beginning of the year, but as soon conference play started with a Jan. 9 battle against Sacred Heart, the Colonials turned it on, only losing two games the rest of the way. RMU had a seven-game win streak snapped by Wagner in the team's season finale contest, but the Colonials got back in the win column with a 60-53 victory over Fairleigh Dickinson in the NEC quarterfinals Wednesday.
Robert Morris leads the all-time series with St. Francis, 47-28. The Colonials swept the two-game season series, last defeating the Red Flash on Feb. 13, 66-60, on the road.
Bryant led by as many as 11 points in the second half with under 10 minutes to play against St. Francis on Wednesday night. But the Red Flash weren't about to let their season end that easily, as they used a 17-5 run to grab the lead and hang on for the one-point victory. Ronnie Drinnon netted 20 points to pace St. Francis in the contest, adding a team-high 18 rebounds to his stat line. Earl Brown dished out a team-best seven assists, and the Red Flash connected on 40 percent of their field-goal attempts in the win.
Brown had quite the season for the Red Flash, who struggled for much of it with a total of 20 losses. Brown netted 14.3 ppg as the only SFU player to average a double-digit point total. His 8 rpg mark was a team best, along with his 34 blocked shots. Brown connected on 53 percent of his shots this season. Malik Harmon (8.7 ppg) led the team with 90 assists on the year. The Red Flash scored just 62 ppg this season through 30 games, and held opponents to 69.7 ppg.
The Colonials, who lost just two games in the conference all season long, led by only two points, 26-24, at the end of the first half against Fairleigh Dickinson Wednesday night. But in the second half Robert Morris was able to create a bit more separation and earn a bid to the semifinal round. Lucky Jones scored a team-high 19 points with seven rebounds, while Anthony Myers- Pate chipped in 10. The Colonials connected on 46.8 percent of their shot attempts in the contest, including 42.9 percent from 3-point range.
Karvel Anderson, who didn't have a single basket in the quarterfinal round against Fairleigh Dickinson (0-of-3 shooting), still leads the team with 19 ppg on 51.1 percent shooting from the floor. His 43 steals was a team high this season, and 46.2 percent shooting mark from 3-point range was the best on the Colonials. Jones chipped in 13.4 ppg with a team-leading 6.8 rpg average. Myers-Pate topped the squad with 121 assists on the year. The Colonials averaged 71.9 ppg through 32 games played, and gave up 71.2 ppg to opponents.
Robert Morris absolutely ran through conference play this season, while St. Francis was saved by facing a pretty weak bottom half of the Northeast Conference. The Red Flash, with their low scoring totals and not a single senior on the roster, likely won't be able to keep pace at all with the Colonials in hostile territory.
GAME NOTES: The second Northeast Conference Tournament semifinal matchup to
determine the final NEC championship game participant will be a battle between
the sixth-seeded St. Francis (Pa.) Red Flash taking on the top-seeded Robert
Morris Colonials at the Sewall Center.Fact Stats
FACTS & STATS: Site: Charles L. Sewall Center (3,056) -- Moon Township,
Pennsylvania. Television: MSG+, FCS. Home Record: St. Francis-PA 5-8, Robert
Morris 11-2. Away Record: St. Francis-PA 5-12, Robert Morris 9-10. Neutral
Record: St. Francis-PA 0-0, Robert Morris 0-0. Conference Record: St. Francis-
PA 7-9, Robert Morris 14-2. Series Record: Robert Morris leads, 47-28.Game Date and Time
Saturday, March 8, 2 p.m. (ET)Predicted Outcome
Robert Morris 74, St. Francis-PA 62