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Empty Netter Assists - 01-31-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Penguins

-Shelly Anderson's recap from last night's game. “I’ll probably have to fly my mother here more than once a year.” - Jussi Jokinen on having a three-point game on the first leg of the Penguins' moms trip.

-The Los Angeles Times' recap. The Kings have been limited to three goals in their past five games.

-The Associated Press' recap. ''It's not a good outing for him, but he's got a body of work that's more than just this game.'' - Dan Bylsma on Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick.

-Highlights:

-Mike Lagne's goal calls.

-Paul Martin and Los Angeles' Trevor Lewis battled for this puck:

-During warm ups, Rob Scuderi had a laugh with former Kings teammate Jarret Stoll:

-Brooks Orpik got the drop on Los Angeles' Colin Fraser:

 -Dan Bylsma speaks:

-Jeff Zatkoff speaks:

-Jokinen speaks:

-"If you try to separate the East and West, I think you’re making too much of it. Every [general manager] is trying to construct their own team. I think every GM has their own style.” - Brooks Orpik on differences between the Eastern Conference and Western Conference.

-Happy 49th birthday to former Penguins defenseman Bobby Dollas. Orginally coming to the Penguins in the 1998 offseason along with Tony Hrkac in a deal which sent Josef Beranek to the Oilers, Dollas spent parts of two seasons in two stints with the Penguins. In 1998-99, he appeared in 70 games for the Penguins and scored 10 points. During that spring's postseason, he saw action in 13 games and scored one goal. In the 1999 offseason, he joined Long Beach of the IHL as a free agent. At the 2001 trade deadline, Dollas returned to the Penguins when he was acquired along with Johan Hedberg in a deal which sent Jeff Norton to the Sharks. He appeared in five games for the Penguins and failed to record a point. He was released in the 2001 offseason. In 75 regular seasons games with the Penguins, he scored 15 points.

-After the Jump: Semyon Varlamov gets paid.

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Final thoughts: Robert Morris 79, Bryant 76

Written by Craig Meyer on .

20140130mfrmusports03-3

(Photo: Matt Freed, Post-Gazette)

It's been a while since I've done one of these, so let's jump right into some thoughts and observations from Robert Morris' win against Bryant last night:

*** He didn't lead the team in scoring -- that would be Karvel Anderson with 24 points -- but Anthony Myers-Pate was the story from last night's game...and that was before he gave us the details on his health condition in the post-game press conference.

The senior point guard had a career-high 21 points and those came on an eight-of-nine shooting performance, the best showing from the floor of his college career. That was impressive enough, but as I elaborated some in my game story, he played with the flu, vomiting as recently as the pregame shootaround. As good as that is, the fact that Andy Toole wasn't surprised at all by what Pate did is all the more telling to me.

As steady as Pate has been throughout his career, he's never been much of a go-to scorer, which is fine because not everyone needs to be. As a point guard, if you get can teammates involved and not turn the ball over, you're doing pretty damn well. And that's what Pate has done for so much of this season. But the past three games -- a.k.a once RMU went down to eight players -- he has averaged 14.7 points per game, way up from the 5.2 points per game he was averaging in the 19 games before that.

I don't envision a game where both Karvel Anderson and Lucky Jones are extremely off, but there will undoubtedly be ones where one of them is, meaning that someone else will have to step up and have a big scoring day. With Jones going 1 of 12 for five points last night, that was the case and Myers-Pate was there to step up.

*** I know Bryant's not the tallest team, but the fact that Robert Morris -- a team with only one player taller than 6-foot-6 -- won the rebounding battle 36-28 (including a 12-8 edge on offensive boards) is commendable. There's a sort of tenacity that wasn't quite as apparent the first part of the season from these players. I'm not sure if it's because they're faced with the reality that they'll have to do everything possible on the court with only eight guys in uniform, but it's been pretty easy to see.

*** Perhaps it's because we're often blinded by what a good shooter he is, but the development of Karvel Anderson's overall game has been remarkable to see. It's been on full display for much of the season, but it's really started to come through the past couple of weeks.

Last season, he was a catch-and-shoot kind of guy because that was a deeper, more balanced team and that's what they needed him to do. But this season, he attacks the basket aggressively and he's come a ways as a defensive player, too. One need not look further than his block on a fast break dunk attempt to get a full idea of what kind of complete player he's become.

*** No update from Toole on Mike McFadden and Desjuan Newton. I asked him after the game if there was an update on their respective statuses and just got a simple "Nope." If I had to guess, I don't think we'll see either of them the rest of the season, but I'm not a betting man.

*** I've been debating about how much stock to put in Bryant's late run last night -- that is, how much to read into Robert Morris almost completely squandering a 13-point lead in the final 10 minutes. With just eight players, it's easy to say that they maybe just got tired, but as I've said before, I really don't see this as a conditioning issue.

If anything, the Bulldogs' run was something of an equalizer. The Colonials started the game on an 11-2 run and that lead was relatively stable for the next 25 minutes, so it was only a matter of time before Bryant went on one, too. The two teams are separated by only one spot in the KenPom rankings and though some games are outliers, Robert Morris is not 13 points better than Bryant, even at home.

*** Granted, we're only seven games into the conference slate, but Wagner and Bryant are easily the two best NEC teams I've seen (aside from Robert Morris). There are still games against LIU-Brooklyn, St. Francis (NY) and a suddenly-improved Fairleigh Dickinson team, but I think the Seahawks and Bulldogs may be the biggest obstacles to RMU making the NCAA Tournament.

*** It's hard to not talk about the atmosphere at the game last night, which was probably the most frenzied home environment I've seen for a regular season game in my 14 months on the beat.

As a writer, I hate fan-shaming because a) it's PR, not journalism and b) I'm not really in a position to tell people how to spend their time and money. I was in college this time two years ago and from a student's standpoint, I understand how hectic life can be, so I've never been someone who's appalled when the student section isn't filled (not like I would be anyway).

With all that being said, though, I figure players and coaches had to see that scene last night and think to themselves 'Man, why can't it be like this every game?' A crowd's impact on the outcome of a game is pretty overrated -- if a player lets fans dictate how they play, they shouldn't be in Division I -- but it definitely leads to a cool, intimate atmosphere.

*** This is probably an obvious statement given the fact he put up 30 and 10, but I was really impressed with Bryant's Alex Francis. He's not the tallest guy out there for someone with such good numbers in the post, but he gets the job done.

It seemed like easily 75 percent of his baskets came after he pulled a spin move in the paint to create some separation for a clear look. And it worked every time. It reminds me a little bit of that club scene in 'Knocked Up' where Seth Rogen is only doing that dice-throwing move on the dance floor. It's all he has, but he used it well and it landed him Katherine Heigl (and eventually a kid, I guess). Francis doesn't have a wide array of post moves, but the one he does have, he uses extremely judiciously.

*** David Appolon was excellent last night, with nine points, five rebounds and three assists (and no turnovers). Toole spoke last night after the game about how with the lack of bench players, certain guys have been able to play freer on the court, stripped of any possible fear of being removed from the game for a mistake. I think Appolon epitomizes that sentiment.

Appolon's a guy that's always been an intriguing piece on the team, but he never really got much time on the court and wasn't able to do much in that limited time. With more time, he's suddenly looked a lot better and a lot more comfortable. This isn't an indictment of Toole because if a player's looking inconsistent in inconsistent minutes, there's no reason you should be playing them all that much unless you have to (as is the case now). But now that he is getting the time, the junior's making the most of it.

*** As long as Robert Morris keeps winning with eight players, it will become a bigger and bigger story. We've already started to see more local TV and radio coming to games and practices of recent, and if the Colonials so much as win the NEC regular season title (which is appearing increasingly likely with an effective three-game lead right now), this may even morph into a national story beyond the occasional tweet from someone like Jon Rothstein or Jeff Goodman commending Toole.

For all the stuff that's surrounded the program lately -- the non-committal statements surrounding absent players, the bureaucratic hurdles to try to just figure out if students are still enrolled -- this team has been hellaciously fun to watch the past three games and I'm sure for fans, it's been the same way.

The future's obviously uncertain, especially with just eight players, but the next five or six weeks are going to be so interesting to watch. Whether it's me as someone who writes about the team or fans in the Sewall Center bleachers, let's enjoy this.

 

Craig Meyer: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and Twitter @CraigMeyerPG

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Pittsburgh a step closer to starting local Fashion Group International chapter

Written by Sara Bauknecht on .

The Pittsburgh fashion and retail community is just days away from learning if it will be granted permission to start a local chapter of Fashion Group International, a global nonprofit that helps unite and promote fashion insiders from around the world.

The news was shared at a meeting at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Downtown, where about 50 people turned out Thursday evening to learn the latest about the endeavor.

In July members of the local style scene, under the direction of Stephanie Taylor, who heads The Art Institute of Pittsburgh's fashion retail management and fashion design programs, set out to investigate if there would be enough interest in Pittsburgh to make an FGI chapter here a viable endeavor. One reception, a few meetings and six months later, FGI's New York headquarters will determine on Monday if the city meets its standards to start a provisional chapter.

To be eligible for consideration, Ms. Taylor had to submit to FGI headquarters information highlighting Pittsburgh as a diverse fashion market, a viability statement listing some of the city's regular fashion events and a letter of intent requesting provisional status.

Staff members at FGI headquarters "were actually pleasantly surprised," Ms. Taylor said, that Pittsburgh had so many fashion-related activities, boutiques and major retailers based in the city, such as ModCloth and American Eagle.

If provisional status is permitted, a board of directors will be assembled to lead the local group through its first year. At the meeting, Ms. Taylor announced that the following positions will need to be filled:

  • Co-regional director: Assists the regional director and will be groomed to step into the position after the regional director's one-year term is complete.
  • Membership director: Promotes the local chapter throughout the community to rally support and new members.
  • Programming director: Organizes industry-related activities for group members and the community.
  • Social media/public relations director: Promotes the local chapter on social media platforms and to media outlets.
  • Treasurer: Manages the group's finances.
  • Website manager: Creates and updates the local chapter's website.

Ms. Taylor will serve as regional director if provisional status is granted. Those interested in applying for a position should submit a resume and letter of intent to Ms. Taylor at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  by Feb. 13. Candidates will be interviewed from 5-7 p.m. Feb. 27. Positions are open to industry professionals; students may apply for the website manager role only.

The next meeting will be 6-7:30 p.m. March 27 at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh. Learn more about FGI at www.fgi.org.

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Groundhog Day

Written by Rob Rogers on .

I am tired of all the ill-informed climate change deniers claiming that these bitter cold temperatures are proof that the earth is not warming. The fact is, the earth is warming and extreme weather is one of the results. The science is in, get over it. 

013114 Groundhog Day

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Myers-Pate's career day enough for Colonials in win vs. Bryant

Written by Craig Meyer on .

There was an energy to the Sewall Center Thursday night, the kind that hadn’t been seen since Robert Morris’ win against Kentucky last season. And though it wasn’t as palpable as it was that March night -- because, frankly, how could it ever be? -- Anthony Myers-Pate could feel it.

With Velton Jones -- his longtime backcourt mate who graduated last year – watching from the baseline near the team’s bench, he could. After he buried a 3-pointer to extend his team’s lead back to six points in the final 10 minutes, and proceeded to tap three fingers against the side of his head, he could.

And by the time the final buzzer sounded, the senior guard who had the flu for most of the week certainly could.

A steadily productive and reliable presence for much of the season, Myers-Pate turned in one of the best performances of his three-plus-year career, scoring a career-high 21 points on eight-of-nine shooting as Robert Morris held on to defeat Bryant, 79-76.

The veteran point guard was vomiting during the team’s shootaround within an hour of tipoff, but when it came time to perform in a big moment for an undermanned team, he delivered.

“I guess it was just the demons leaving my body,” he said with a slight laugh.

The victory gives the Colonials (12-10, 7-0 Northeast Conference) a season sweep of the Bulldogs (13-9, 5-2) and gives them a three-game lead for first place in the conference standings.

“That’s a big brother figure to me,” Myers-Pate said of playing in front of Jones. “I feel like I played well in front of him tonight, letting him know ‘We’re still holding things down right now.’”

Karvel Anderson added 24 points for a team that saw each of its eight players score.

In front of a frenzied crowd, Robert Morris jumped out early, scoring 11 of the game’s first 13 points to take a nine-point not even three minutes into the game. That advantage stayed relatively stable throughout the first half, with the Colonials’ lead growing to as many as 12 points.

That lead held consistent for much of the second half before Bryant made its move. Trailing by 12 in the final 10 minutes, the Bulldogs went on an 8-0 run to reduce the deficit to 65-61 with 5:44 remaining after a 3-pointer from Corey Maynard.

That once-comfortable lead for the Colonials would get as low as one point with 45 seconds remaining after Maynard converted a three-point play. With his team still nursing a one-point edge with 12 seconds left, Anderson drained two free throws to push the lead to three before Maynard missed a potential game-tying 3 at the buzzer.

Five days after a tight four-point win against Wagner, Robert Morris yet again found a way to get a victory out of a closely-contested game.

“Our guys have stepped up and made plays when we needed them to make them,” Robert Morris coach Andy Toole said. “We’ve made key free throws in certain games, we’ve been able to execute well, Karvel’s hit some big shots in some of the game. But I think all of our guys on the floor have really been able to lock in in some of these late-game situations and make the play that it takes.”

Alex Francis scored 30 points on 12 of 19 shooting, along with a game-high 10 rebounds, for Bryant.

Despite taking the court with just one player taller than 6-foot-6, the Colonials outrebounded the Bulldogs, 36-28. Down to only three players on the bench, Robert Morris managed to stay out of foul trouble, as no player on the team had more than three fouls.

In all, it was another complete performance by a team that appears to be hitting its stride at a crucial point in the season.

“Everybody that played on the court contributed and made big plays,” Toole said. “Lucky [Jones] didn’t shoot it well, but to be able to get eight rebounds and have four assists, those things contribute to wins, as well. It was another total team effort by our guys to beat a very good team.”

 

Craig Meyer: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  and Twitter @CraigMeyerPG

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