Monday, January 2, 2017

Robert Morris 66, FDU 64: Tempo-Free Recap

Robert Morris' Anna Niki Stamolamprou looks for an opening in FDU's defense. (Photo by Ray Floriani/Daly Dose Of Hoops)

By Ray Floriani (@rfloriani)

TEANECK, NJ - In the midst of a nine-game losing streak dating back to November 21, FDU was in dire need of getting one: An entry in the win column to hopefully represent something to build on in conference.

It was not to be.

A valiant effort and comeback fell short. Robert Morris prevailed 66-64 at the Rothman Center to increase their ledger to 6-7 (1-1 NEC). FDU is now 2-11 and 0-2 in conference play.

First five possessions:
Robert Morris: Turnover, turnover, three-point FG, missed FG, field goal
FDU: Missed FG, missed FG, missed FG, missed FG, field goal

After the first five, the score was 5-2 in favor of Robert Morris at the 7:23 mark. FDU committed themselves to employing a faster tempo, and the time elapsed through those initial five possessions testifies to that.

First half observations:
Enjoying a five-point lead after one quarter was significant for the Knights. Granted, the game is four quarters, but the fact of the matter is when you are in a tough stretch, a good start is uplifting.

FDU zoned and still did a good job locating Robert Morris’ leading scorer, Anna Niki Stamolamprou.

On her behalf, Stamolamprou, a senior guard, did not force the issue. She managed one attempt in the first quarter. Letting the game come to her, she got into a flow and began scoring in the second quarter.

FDU’s dribble penetration has been effective, and a matchup problem for the Colonials. Even with Robert Morris zoning, the Knights have been effective getting in the lane.

Defense, or lack thereof. FDU allowed 28 second quarter points, allowing the visiting Colonials to take a 41-34 lead into halftime. Robert Morris posted a 111 offensive efficiency (FDU checked in at 94) for those first 20 minutes. The first four minutes of the second half were in FDU’s favor, 8-6. The Knights reduced the deficit to one during that time, only to see the Colonials get two quick buckets to raise the lead to five again.

Possessions: Robert Morris 70,  FDU 66
Offensive efficiency: Robert Morris 94, FDU 97

Four Factors:
eFG%: Robert Morris 58, FDU 49
Free Throw Rate: Robert Morris 32, FDU 27
Offensive Rebound%: Robert Morris 29, FDU 26
Turnover Rate: Robert Morris 30, FDU 20

Leading scorers and EF:
Robert Morris - Rebeca Navarro 22 points, EF 26
FDU - Peniel M’Bikata, 12 points, EF 23; Brianna Thomas 12 points, EF 16

What Robert Morris did well: Shoot. The Colonials scorched the nets from three to the tune of 12-for-18 shooting. Robert Morris was 11-of-32 from inside the arc.

What FDU did well: Come back. Trailing by 11 entering the final quarter, the Knights refused to fold. They had a chance to tie on the second to last possession of the game, but came up empty.

The teams were tied at 18 in points in the paint in a game had five ties and four lead changes. Turnovers were a problem for both teams. FDU turned it over 13 times for a 20 percent rate - actually an improvement over recent contests. The Knights had a 19-15 advantage in points off turnovers.

Stamolamprou (15 points) finished with an excellent 27 EF for coach Charlie Buscaglia’s club. Grabbing a game-high eight rebounds and committing one turnover from her guard position aided the EF number.

Lauren Francillon, FDU’s promising freshman forward, scored 11 points, adding five boards in 23 minutes of action.

In one of those rare occurrences, FDU won the offensive efficiency category, but lost the game. Unfortunately for FDU mentor Peter Cinella, winning the OE does not compute in the standings.
Robert Morris was coming off a frustrating performance at Sacred Heart (a 69-59 loss) on Thursday. FDU’s conference opener saw the Knights defeated at home by Saint Francis University in a close 82-79 final.

Final thoughts:
“We are very young, but did a great job coming back the fourth quarter. We got stops, took care of the ball, but we just came up short. The same thing happened on Thursday, we just fell short. Both Saint Francis and Robert Morris are veteran teams, but we were right there. We need to find a way to close these games out. Our second quarter (a 28-16 Robert Morris advantage) was the difference. You can’t give up 28 points in a quarter. I thought we had good balance on offense scoring wise. Francillon is a young freshman and is going to be a good one for us. We did a good job on Stamolamprou early, but she’s a senior and we expected her to get going. Through all this, I will say we have continued to play hard. The effort is there.” - FDU coach Peter Cinella

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