by Dan Gardella
Fairfield – With all of the great talent that has come through the Robert Morris University Men’s Basketball program, one thing stays the same: Defense.
The Colonials were able to force ten Sacred Heart turnovers in the first half and got 25 points off of Sacred Heart turnovers as they cruised to a 74-60 win over the Pioneers Thursday evening.
“This week, we really talked about the fundamentals defensively. I thought we had lost a little bit of our fundamentals in the last couple games. So this week we tried to really go back to some of our basic defensive drills to get ourselves in the right position.” said Robert Morris head coach Andrew Toole.
After coming off of a 40-point victory against St. Francis Brooklyn in which they shot 56% from the field, it was a complete change for the Pioneers. The team did not score for the first seven minutes of the game and made one of their first ten shots to put them in an early double-digit hole that they could not climb out of.
On the offensive side for Robert Morris, the attack was spread out as seven players scored at least six points and nine players registered at least 16 minutes.
“I think being able to have depth is always effective.” said Toole. “Sometimes it might not be huge statistical stuff, but just going in and playing hard for two minutes so that a guy can get a break. That’s valuable.”
The leader of the spread-out attack was sophomore Dachon Burke who scored a game-high 19 points. Burke, the leading scorer for the Colonials was in double figures for the 19th time in the team’s first 20 games.
“When he’s getting downhill and he’s in the lane, he’s a problem for teams. He can attract a lot of attention.” said Toole about his sophomore leader.
For the Pioneers (7-13) (2-5 NEC) were led by senior Joseph Lopez, who recorded his seventh double-double of the season by scoring 18 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Zach Radz tied a career high with 17 points along with adding 7 rebounds.
Sacred Heart remains in Fairfield and welcome St. Francis (PA) to Connecticut Saturday afternoon.
Robert Morris (12-8) (6-1 NEC) takes a trip to Staten Island to face off with the Wagner Seahawks in a battle of two top tier teams in the NEC.