Photo by Kyle Gorcey
Tate, Frederick power RMU past Pioneers
January 18, 2015
Prior to each Robert Morris home game, Andy Toole assumes his usual pre-game position next to the RMU Pep Band section of the bleachers at the Charles L. Sewall Center.
Instead of joining his assistants at center court, the Robert Morris head coach always keeps a keen eye on his team’s performance from afar during the 10 minute preparation period before the start of a contest.
What Toole looks for, however, isn’t how many three pointers or foul shots his squad sinks in a row.
Rather the 34 year old closely monitors each RMU player’s intellectual alertness prior to tipoff in order to adjust his lineup accordingly.
It’s a simple formula in which those who appear to have their head in the game the most will receive more minutes.
Case in point with Robert Morris freshman Andre Frederick prior to the Sacred Heart game.
“It all depends on the day with the Colonials. It’s really pretty much how we’ve been going, trying to look and see who’s ready to go, who’s engaged mentally because it’s not like your physical gifts leave you …,” the fifth year head coach said. “For whatever reason, when [Frederick] was in shoot around today, he was really engaged, he was lively, and he was trying to dunk everything. It just seemed like he was ready to play.”
In what can be considered his breakout game of the 2014-15 campaign, Frederick – along with fellow forward Aaron Tate – had season highs in points scored as Robert Morris (8-10, 4-2) rolled to an 85-65 victory over the Pioneers (7-12, 1-5) Sunday afternoon.
“They [Frederick and Tate] played their role. They did everything that the coaches and team ask of them,” said senior Lucky Jones, who tallied his second double-double of the season. “They were out there having fun, they made minor mistakes, but at the same time it was good to see both of them make some great shots that they’re capable of making.”
The Colonials trailed for the initial part of the first half, but took a three point advantage nine minutes in after a Jones three pointer.
The Newark, New Jersey native drained four more shots from beyond the arc in the final 7:33 of the first frame to give RMU a 47-35 advantage at the break.
SHU would come within six with 8:56 remaining, but from that point forward the Colonials used a 22-8 run to close out the game and a Tate alley-oop dunk off a Marcquise Reed lob put an exclamation point on the contest.
“Aaron Tate is our most consistent human being and player that we have in our locker room. That’s why he plays so many minutes because we trust him time and time again that he’s going to be in the right spot, he’s going to make the right effort, he’s going to make the best decision for the team,” Toole said.
Despite the fact that Robert Morris knocked off Mount St. Mary’s in its first Northeast Conference contest of the season, Jones believes that the Colonials will face a tough test when they travel to Emmitsburg on Thursday.
“The next game is probably the biggest game because of what happened here the first game of the [conference],” he said. “So we need to worry about taking care of business in Maryland and understand that they’re coming off of four straight wins and are starting to click as a team.”