After another late comeback attempt failed to bring Robert Morris a win, the frustration turned into hostility.
A brawl between Saint Francis Pa. and the Colonials broke out in the handshake line after a 90-78 loss at DeGol Arena on Saturday, with both sets of coaching staff having to separate the teams.
Robert Morris coach Andy Toole shouted, “That’s not how you act,” as he ushered his players into the locker room.
Not how to act for the postgame show of sportsmanship, but the Colonials could have used some of that fight in the actual game.
“That’s how losers act,” Toole said. “You had 40 minutes, 40 minutes to prove a point. … You had a great opportunity all throughout the game to fight. As soon as they threw that ball up, you could have been fighting. And now after the game, everyone’s going to be this tough guy.”
Robert Morris (6-17, 4-6 Northeast Conference) dug itself as much as a 25-point hole against Saint Francis (10-11, 6-4) and didn’t start to recover until about the last eight minutes of the game, when freshman guard Matty McConnell hit the Colonials’ first 3-pointer of the game. And while three players managed to finish in the double-digits for points despite no one scoring more than seven in the first half, the sudden offensive turnaround came too late.
In the first half, which Robert Morris ended down 43-23, the Colonials shot just 36 percent from the field and failed to make any 3-pointers — this after making just one 3-pointer the game before at Mount St. Mary’s from freshman walk-on Anthony Pugh off the bench in the dying minutes.
Although the team improved to 43 percent from the field and 17 percent from the 3-point line by the end of the game, Toole said effort was the only difference.
“Sometimes in the first half, it’s like, I come off ball screen, let me exhaust all possibilities for myself before I move it to a teammate because I want make sure that I can get mine before I realize that I’ve got to give it up,” Toole said. “In the second half, there were times the ball was just hitting a guy’s hand, and it was gone before anything even happened. And that kept the defense behind and gave us an advantage.”
Freshman guard Isaiah Still ended with a team-high 25 points, all but two of them scored in the second half, while sophomore forward Elijah Minnie scored a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Robert Morris did not make players available for interviews postgame.
Senior guard Ben Millaud-Meunier led Saint Francis, who entered the game as the best 3-point shooting team in the league, with 29 points including eight 3-pointers, most from well beyond the line. Senior forward Ronnie Drinnon also recorded a double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds.
Millaud-Meunier said he didn’t see what caused the fight, calling it “foolishness and childishness,” but he shrugged off any lasting effects.
“It’s a rivalry, right?” he said.