Friday, February 28, 2014

Robert Morris 69, FDU 64: Ray Floriani's Photo Essay

TEANECK, NJ --­ The clock at Rothman Center read eight minutes. Just the equivalent of two more media timeouts and the victory would be theirs. Eight minutes, a twelve point lead. Alas, FDU was dealt a few cruel reminders.

Number one, Robert Morris is the Northeast Conference leader for a reason. Two, or maybe one A, learning to close out games takes time.

Robert Morris went on a 19-­2 run those final eight minutes to post a 69­-64 victory over FDU on Thursday. The Colonials did not do it with any all out pressure. Rather, it was a calm, systematic possession by possession, stop by stop procedure. As Colonials coach Andy Toole said, “in college basketball, eight minutes is a long time.”

The pain of losing was hard for FDU. The Knights felt it was in their grasp, only to trickle away. The loss all but guaranteed a quarterfinal road game in the NEC tournament for the Knights. 

Just the inclusion of FDU and tournament in the same sentence shows the job Greg Herenda has done in his first season. Recent seasons have seen the balls into storage minutes after the final buzzer of the last regular season game. Now there is a postseason to look forward to, a second season, a second hope. With parity abound in this conference, who knows? As Toole added, “I can see any team in the quarterfinals winning their game and advancing, this league is so balanced.”

Now FDU is in that postseason projection and conversation. Despite the outcome on this night, that is a source of pride.

Robert Morris huddles during a timeout:
Officials take time to huddle going over a play:
FDU head coach Greg Herenda surveys the action:
Sidney Sanders Jr. looks over the options late in the contest:
Robert Morris coach Andy Toole on the airwaves:
The sign outside Rothman Center reminds us of this climatically insulting winter:

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