A few thoughts from Saturday night's 75-63 loss to Robert Morris, now that I've had some time to let it all sink in.
Robert Morris was clearly the better team last night. Anytime you outrebound someone 42-24 you are going to win the game. You just can't get that many more chances and not be succesful.
Hindsight always gives you the clearest perspective. But we should have seen this coming. Yes the Mount played well for the three games prior, but they were so good against St. Francis NY, that you had to expect a bounce of some sort. Couple that with the fact that RMU was not very good on the road on Thursday at Monmouth and it all makes sense.
We told you the Colonials were vastly improved defensively. We expected to see that. But we didn't expect the rebounding margin. For the record, the Mount went better than 11 minutes without a bucket - spanning the two halves. Some of it was missing open shots that normally go in. Some of it wss having guys who don't usually have to take shots, being the guy having to take the open shots. Credit the Colonials with that.
If you're a Mount fan and you've ever had a conversation with me about the Mount, we've probably discussed the substitution patterns of head coach Milan Brown. There were two times on Saturday night, where I just didn't get the need for a substitute, let alone the wholesale substitution that came. There was one swap midway through the first half, that was closely followed by the scoring drought. There was another in the second half, after the Mount had heated up again with a mini-run and it appeared as if they might be finding their way back into the game. All of a sudden four starters were on the bench, Chappell hit a dagger three for the Colonials, and the game was for all intents and purposes over.
Here is something I probably couldn't have said last night. The Mount never quit. Despite the fact that they were down by close to 20 in the second half, they relentlessy battled. And even had a chance to cut it to 7 with just over two minutes to play, but Jeremy Goode missed a layup. There was a time in the second half, where I thought the team looked beaten and I considered leaving. But there was also a time where I thought, they didn't lose tonight, they just ran out of time in the comeback.
Syracuse plays Connecticut followed by Duke and North Carolina on Wednesday night. Those two matchups won't be anymore intense than what we saw on the floor Saturday night. These are two teams that don't like each other. Mike Rice is a Patsos junior. Both teams scrap and claw at the defensive end. This had developed into a pretty good rivalry because of some NEC tournament upsets on the opposistion's floors.
Good crowd at the Knott Arena. Not sure where they'd fit the extra thousand or so that capacity says could get in the gym. Student section effort was better than Thursday night. But needs some work. Too many people left with a voice intact.
Tony Lee is the type of player that as an opposing fan or player you hate. He plays like a thug and never shuts up. With that said, he's also the type of player that you love to have on your team. Because he plays like a thug, never shuts up, and backs it up. Reminds me a lot of Carl Krauser and how I felt about him the last few years.
The performances from Jean Cajou and Kelly Beidler off of the bench were pretty good. Cajou seems to have found a jump shot and knocked down a couple of long range bombs. Without looking, I think its his third straight game with a troika, after starting the season 1-for-a-bunch from behind the arc. Beidler is as athletic as they come, but he has seemed more polished and smooth the last few appearances.
Wagner, and I'm sure a pissed off Wagner (CCSU thumped them on Saturday) comes to the ARCC on Thursday night. This has the makings of being a very good game. The Mount needs a win to stay in fifth place and keep the pressure on for a potential first round playoff home game. But more importantly they need to win to regain some confidence. Saturday night had to take something out of them.