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January 5, 2013

Game Day: CCSU at Robert Morris

There's both good news and bad news for Robert Morris as it welcomes Central Connecticut State to the Sewall Center Saturday night.

The good news is RMU gets a chance to get right back off the mat after Thursday's disappointing loss to Bryant. There is little question Andrew Toole spent Friday hammering defense into their brains - again - and there's always a push to get onto the court as soon as possible after a sour loss.

Game 15: Central Connecticut State
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WHEN: January 5, 7:00 p.m.
WHERE: Charles L. Sewall Center
TV/RADIO: WPIT 730 AM (RMU Radio)
YAHOO! SPORTS RPI RANKINGS: CCSU 222, Robert Morris 172
KENPOM RANKINGS: Robert Morris 142, Central Connecticut State 222
PROJECTED CCSU STARTERS: F Adonis Burbage (6'5, 185, So.), F Brandon Peel (6'7, 200, Fr.), G Matt Hunter (6'5, 190, Jr.), G Kyle Vinales (6'1, 180, So.), G Malcolm McMillan (6'0, 180, So.)
PROJECTED ROBERT MORRIS STARTERS: F Mike McFadden (6'8, 220, Jr.), F Lucky Jones (6'6, 205, So.), G Karvel Anderson (6'2, 190, Jr.). G Coron Williams 6'2, 170, RJr.), G Velton Jones (6'0, 170, RSr.)

The bad news?

Central Connecticut State has two guys who might make Bryant's hot-shooting night look like child's play.

Kyle Vinales and Matt Hunter are currently averaging 20.9 and 18.8 points per game, respectively. Hunter scored 40 points against Indiana. Vinales has multiple 30-plus point performances in his brief career.

"They might get 60 apiece," Toole said Thursday night.

If Robert Morris shuns the scouting report like they did Thursday night, they just might. Thursday's performance did two things for RMU: It confirmed that even though they enjoyed a 91 point effort against Duquesne earlier this month, they can't win unless they play defense. Robert Morris' offense is too inconsistent to run and gun with teams.

It also showed that when Robert Morris does play defense consistently and within Toole's framework, they have enough offense to win. Robert Morris clawed back into the game multiple times when Bryant went cold or the Colonials strung together a couple of possessions. RMU made Bryant sweat the win out. But Toole's contention is Robert Morris never should have been in that position to begin with, especially on their home floor.

"That's where you hope you have veteran guys who are kind of relaying that information to their teammates about how important it is to prepare yourself, how important it is to defend,'' Toole said. "It takes no talent to go out and play as hard as you possibly can, and we did not do that tonight."

Losses like Thursday night's debacle are typically the types of events that prompt Toole to send some messages. With his experienced, veteran players among those not bringing the proper energy, it's possible there will be a lineup change or two Saturday.

Where exactly Toole will turn remains to be seen. Robert Morris fans are just hoping he'll find a way to get through in time for RMU to grab a win Saturday night.

ColonialsCorner publisher Andrew Chiappazzi can be reached at achiappazzi@yahoo.com.

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