PREVIEW: FGCU vs. Robert Morris – 12/7/19

Bad communication, slow rotation on defense, trouble against the press, turnovers, etc. Sound familiar? Actually, these are things that can be seen while watching Robert Morris play this season. The Colonials have had the same struggles as our Eagles this year and each team is desperately looking for a win. Robert Morris is 2-8 so far with only 1 win against a D-I opponent. Similarly, only 1 of FGCU’s 2 wins came against a D-I team. The similarities between the state of these two programs this year are striking. In a recent post-game interview, Colonials coach, Andrew Toole said this:

“It’s so frustrating having to play catch up… we fell asleep. It all comes down to our ability to get stops. We can’t get stops right now. You have to be able to make opponents miss shots. We just haven’t been able to sit down and get the stops we need to get.”

Andrew Toole

Thus far, the Eagles lead the nation in turnovers and have struggled mightily to shoot efficiently. Robert Morris’s troubles are mainly on the defensive end. It will be interesting to see which team can overcome their weakness and prevail. Toole continued, saying:

“We’re not getting consistent, reliable play from virtually anybody. One time it’s a breakdown from this guy then the next time it’s another guy. I know the guys are frustrated, but we have to be able to stop people. We can’t do it for 20 or 25 minutes. We have to do it for a full 40 minutes.”

Andrew Toole

Struggling to put 2 halves together is a theme for both teams. Only one team will break the trend. Below, we will take a look at some of the contributors for the Colonials, positional matchups, the overall outlook for the game, and give our predictions.

The Players

Josh Williams (#0)

Josh Williams is a 6’2″ / 195 lb guard for the Colonials. He is a redshirt senior and has started all 10 games this year. He is a high usage player at 33 minutes per game. In that time, he is averaging 12 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists per game. He is not the best shooter but the type of player that can get hot from 3 on any given day.

Jon Williams (#1)

No, not a typo. Jon Williams is the 6’1″ / 175 lb, younger brother of Josh. He is a junior who has taken on a starting role with 28 minutes a night. While he is only averaging 6 points per game, he presents as a strong 3 point shooter.

Dante Treacy (#3)

Treacy is a 6’0″ / 170 lb guard. He impressed as a freshman and, now, as a sophomore, he has slid into a starting spot. Treacy currently averages 7 points and 3 rebounds in 31 minutes per game.

Jalen Hawkins (#4)

Hawkins is a terrific player off the bench for the Colonials. He is a 6’3″ / 185 lb sophomore. Hawkins averages 10 points and 3 rebounds in only 20 minutes per game.

AJ Bramah (#5)

AJ Bramah is one of the better players for Robert Morris. He started the first 9 games of the season before sitting out the 10th. It is unknown why he was unavailable or if he will play against FGCU. Bramah is a versatile 6’7″ / 185 lb G/F combo. As a Junior, he is not a shooter but has developed into a terrific rebounder and a slashing scorer inside. On the season, he is averaging 9 points and 8 rebounds.

Sayveon McEwan (#12)

McEwan is a spark off the bench for this team. He is a 6’0″ / 185 lb, senior guard. He is only averaging 6 points but is a phenomenal shooter and plays just 12 minutes per game. In their last game, against Youngstown State, McEwan explodes for 13 points.

Yannis Mendy (#15)

Mendy is the best true big for Robert Morris. He stands at 6’8″ / 230 lbs. As one of the seniors on this team, he has started all 10 of their games and has loads of experience. Mendy is not a shooter, but is a strong rebounder and scorer down low. He is averaging 9 points and 6 rebounds in 22 minutes per game.

Charles Bain (#20)

Bain started all 35 games for the Colonials last season. This year, the 6’8″ / 200 lb junior has had a bench role until their last game. He made his first start against Youngstown State, as AJ Bramah was unavailable. He is averaging 7 points and 4 rebounds per game in 21 minutes of action. He has a very poor shooting percentage for a big (30%) but has the ability to spot up for 3 on occasion (31%).

Matchups

Guards

Robert Morris has a lot of depth among their guards. Brothers Josh and Jon Williams are a formidable duo and a source of leadership for this team. Treacy, Hawkins, and McEwan provide solid play for them as well. For one of the first times this year, the Eagles might have the on-paper advantage here. While Josh Williams is the clear leader of this offense, the Colonials have no world-beaters. Not only does FGCU possess the production advantage, they also hold the upper hand in regard to height. RMU has no active guard over 6’3″. Caleb Catto has a chance to really take advantage with his height and passing ability. Look for Malik Hardy to make his presence known as well.

Forwards

The availability of Bramah is essential to the success of Robert Morris. He is a G/F combo that has the athleticism to play on the wing and create his own shot but also the length and toughness to be a big. Without him, the Colonials are much thinner at forward. Bain and Mendy assume the starting spots and they each stand at 6’8″. The 6’8″ / 185 lb freshman, Olisa Ngonadi, is the only other forward on the roster and he has played in only 2 games this year for a total of 8 minutes. Justus Rainwater and Dakota Rivers will be kept busy with Mendy and Bain. Tracy Hector should at least be a solid body down low as well. Qwanzi Samuels also has a chance to make an impact here.

Projected Starters

FGCURMU
Zach Scott – GJosh Williams – G
Caleb Catto – GJon Williams – G
Sam Gagliardi – GDante Treacy – G
Tracy Hector Jr – FCharles Bain – F
Justus Rainwater – CYannis Mendy – F

Outlook

Both of these teams are reeling and have obvious shortcomings. Robert Morris lacks explosion offensively but has a lot of guys who can score. The Colonials are also very thin at forward. FGCU’s shortcomings lie in a trickle-down effect that starts with inexperience. Youth leads to miscommunications. Miscommunications lead to bad passing, turnovers, and forced shots. This game is truly an example of weakness vs weakness. RMU struggles to get stops, defensively and FGCU struggles with cohesion, offensively. If the Eagles can capitalize on bad defense and minimize miscommunication, they will walk out of Alico Arena with a much-needed win. On the other hand, if FGCU continues their sloppy play and loses to a lowly opponent at home, the low-point this season will be even deeper.

Predictions

Elliott Kresse (8-3)

“FGCU has the most turnovers in college basketball right now and the shooting percentage is horrid as of late. Until this starts to trend the other way, I can’t pick us to win.” – Elliott

63-54 – Robert Morris

Russell Kelly (5-6)

“These are two of the most struggling teams in the country right now. This is the perfect game for FGCU to turn the corner. It’s hard to predict a win for Fly and the boys right now, though. I’m most likely setting myself up for disappointment.” – Russell

64-60 – FGCU

Dawson Jordan (4-7)

“This season is at an all time low right now and I think it will continue on Saturday. FGCU fails to score 50 again in a sloppy game.” – Dawson

55-49 – Robert Morris

Bryan Genter (5-6)

“I think FGCU can pull out a win here at home against a 2-8 team. It’s going to be sloppy and will probably come down to the wire though.” – Bryan

67-64 – FGCU