‘This is something you can get greedy for’ says Toole after NEC Championship win


Photo Credit: Thomas Ognibene

Logan Carney, Digital Content Director

MOON TOWNSHIP — The Robert Morris men’s basketball team (20-14, 13-5 NEC) is going dancing after defeating Saint Francis (22-10, 13-5 NEC) by the score of 77-67 to win the NEC Championship. The win for Robert Morris clinches them a spot in the 2019-2020 NCAA Tournament and it’ll be their first NCAA Tournament appearance since the 2014-2015 season.

“I’m just so happy for these guys,” said Robert Morris head coach Andy Toole. “My emotions are irrelevant… This is why we coach. It’s to give guys opportunities like this. And they created the opportunities. They did the heavy lifting. They guarded, they shot it, they rebounded it, they executed the offense and it’s their moment. They deserve it. They earned it.”

Not much went wrong for Robert Morris during the game. For the game, the Colonials shot 48.4% from the field and 37% from three-point range. This included an astonishing 53.6% shooting percentage and a 50% three-point shot percentage in the second half, when the Colonials scored 43 points. Robert Morris led in rebounds 35-30, 12 of which were offensive, and only trailed for a total of 34 seconds in the game.

“It’s as competitive of a group from top to bottom as we’ve coached,” said Toole in regards to his team. “I think when you have the competitiveness and toughness that they have. You’re willing to do so much more to win.”

Defensively the Colonials shut-down Saint Francis from the three-point line as they held Saint Francis to 17.6% (3-17) from behind the arc in the game. Star player Isaiah Blackmon was held to an 0-6 line from the three-point line and turned the ball over six times. The Colonials generated a total of 11 turnovers in the game.

“I mean, honestly, everyone that was on (Blackmon),” said Toole. “Did a great job at not giving him space. The hard part of Isaiah is, he’s so efficient in his scoring and his shooting, it’s not like he’s a real ball-dominant player.”

Dante Treacy was named MVP of the NEC Tournament, with Josh Williams and AJ Bramah each receiving first-team selections. Treacy proved to be the MVP in this game, as he led the Colonials with 18 points. He also had five assists and three rebounds in the game.

“I got off to a slow start,” said Treacy on what led to his strong performance. “Guys just kept telling me, believe in myself. Josh (Williams) being the main one and Toole just telling me to keep my shot.”

Josh Williams and Bramah also proved to be difference makers in the game, as Bramah had 12 points and eight rebounds while Josh Williams had 17 points.

“I think we felt disrespected in a way,” said Josh Williams. “In the fact that nobody really believed in us. Like Coach Toole said, I’ve been in this situation before and I didn’t want it to happen again. I didn’t want the guys around me to feel what I felt, to come up short.”

Robert Morris now waits to see who and where they play in the NCAA Tournament. That decision will be announced this upcoming Sunday. Some outlets are projecting the Colonials to travel to Dayton, Ohio, for a First Four game. If that were to happen, it could be a problem for Colonial fans as Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine recommended that indoor athletic events be held without spectators.

“I would wish the governor luck in keeping my wife out of that game,” said Toole. “He’s going to call my seven-year-old and five-year-old they can’t come to the NCAA Tournament then good luck. You know, we’re just happy to be playing. Whatever goes on outside of that, we can’t worry about it. We’re going to be ready to play whoever our opponent is, wherever they send us, we’re just happy to put the jersey on one more day.”

The Colonials, though, are guaranteed to go somewhere in the NCAA Tournament. For Robert Morris, their conference tournament championship is their ninth in program history. It is Toole’s second as head coach of the Colonials.

“This is something you can get greedy for,” said Toole. “This is what our program has been built on.”