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Anderson's record night leads RMU past Texas-Arlington

Written by Craig Meyer on .

Shooters, often inexplicably, have nights where everything feels right, where the basket appears bigger and where seemingly every shot, from the moment it leaves their hands, feels like it’s going in.

Four days removed a 5-for-17 performance in a 38-point loss to Kentucky, Karvel Anderson had one of those games for Robert Morris – one that, by the end of the night, managed to make a small bit of history.

Anderson scored 24 points and tied his own single-game home record with eight 3-pointers as the Colonials rebounded from the lopsided defeat to the Wildcats and held on for a 88-81 victory against Texas-Arlington Thursday night in the Charles Sewall Center.

“Sometimes, you really can’t take credit for anything,” Anderson said. “It’s just one of those nights.”

The senior guard made eight of his 11 field goal attempts, 10 of which came from beyond the 3-point arc. With his performance Thursday, he has scored at least 20 points in three of the team’s five games this season.

Led by two 3-pointers from Anderson, Robert Morris jumped out to a 14-0 lead and held the Mavericks (2-4) scoreless through the opeing 3:09. That advantage would later get cut to six points, but it was extended back to 10 by halftime.

In the game’s first 20 minutes, Anderson made six of his seven 3-point attempts, matching the number of field goals the Colonials (3-2) made as a team in the first half of the loss to Kentucky.

However, much of that early momentum from Anderson stalled in the second half as Texas-Arlington clawed its way back into the game.

Riding a hot shooter of their own in guard Reger Dowell, the Mavericks began the second half on a 14-6 run and never trailed by more than eight for the remainder of the game.

Nursing a two-point edge with 2:23 left, Robert Morris scored 11 of the game’s final 16 points and made nine of its final 10 free throws to secure the win.

It was an uneven performance from the Colonials, one in which they got off to a strong start only to see their lead dissipate, but for a team with seven newcomers that’s still looking for some sort of rhythm, it was able to get the best possible result – a win.

“We definitely find ways to make it interesting,” Robert Morris coach Andy Toole said. “There are going to be times this year where we’re going to have guys in situations they haven’t been in before where we’re going to have to help them through it.”

Along with Anderson, three other Robert Morris players scored in double figures, a group led by forward Lucky Jones, who scored 15 points and had 10 rebounds.

Dowell, who entered the game as one of the top 20 scorers in Division I at 24.8 points per game, finished with a game-high 26 points (on 22 shots), 21 of which came in the second half.

But, even though Dowell had the biggest scoring numbers of any player on the court Thursday night, it was Anderson who made the biggest difference for a team in need of a win.

“I know Dowell had 26 points, but my man to the right, he showed him up tonight,” Jones said, motioning to Anderson after the game. “It was a back-and-forth confrontation, but when you’re on the losing team and you think you have to do everything by yourself, even if you wanted to shoot 20 shots a night, he still looks for his team.

“That’s the best part about him.”

 

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

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Minute man - 11-21-13

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

In last night's 4-0 road win against the Capitals, Marc-Andre Fleury (above) faced a mere 18 shots while earning his 25th career shutout.

While Fleury has certainly had heavier workloads in terms of shots faced during a game, it did mark the seventh consecutive start for Fleury and his fourth game in six days.

With Jeff Zatkoff pressed into the backup role, the Penguins have seemed slow to play him as much as the the man he replaced, Tomas Vokoun who is sidelined due to blood clots.

Is Fleury playing too much? That is certainly up for debate. But if you compare Fleury's minutes played to his peers, his workload this season is in line with many of the top goaltenders in the NHL.

Here is a look at all 30 NHL teams' top goaltenders (as defined by minutes played in this case) and what percentage of their team's potential goaltending minutes they have played this season:

(Note: All totals are through Wednesday's games.)

Player, Team Minutes
Played
Potential
Minutes
Percent of
Team’s
Goaltending
Minutes
Mike Smith, Coyotes 1,106:36 1,293:44 85.5%
Tuukka Rask, Bruins 1,083:51 1,274:11 85.1%
Corey Crawford, Blackhawks 1,129:57 1,347:48 83.8%
Antti Niemi, Sharks 1,072:19 1,291:23 83.1%
Marc-Andre Fleury, Penguins 1,138:46 1,385:00 82.2%
Carey Price, Canadiens 1,082:59 1,335:00 81.1%
Robert Luongo, Canucks 1,133:14 1,410:14 80.3%
Sergei Bobrovsky, Blue Jackets 1,019:04 1,338:10 76.2%
Ben Bishop, Lightning 971:07 1,281:57 75.8%
Ondrej Pavelec, Jets 1,072:19 1,419:43 75.5%
Josh Harding, Wild 1,056:39 1,409:55 74.9%
Jaroslav Halak, Blues 908:07 1,220:41 74.4%
Braden Holtby, Capitals 998:56 1,351:34 73.9%
Jimmy Howard, Red Wings 999:00 1,356:32 73.6%
Kari Lehtonen, Stars 895:08 1,228:17 72.9%
Steve Mason, Flyers 877:15 1,207:40 72.6%
Semyon Varlamov, Avalanche 850:29 1,203:36 70.7%
Henrik Lundqvist, Rangers 881:33 1,264:47 69.7%
Ryan Miller, Sabres 942:08 1,396:50 67.5%
Devan Dubnyk, Oilers 925:08 1,394:04 66.4%
Jonathan Bernier, Maple Leafs 820:33 1,277:09 64.2%
Craig Anderson, Senators 850:29 1,338:16 63.6%
Evgeni Nabokov, Islanders 800:13 1,327:16 60:3%
Martin Brodeur, Devils 727:10 1,284:16 56.6%
Justin Peters, Hurricanes 663:17 1,265:53 52.4%
Jonas Hiller, Ducks 752:52 1,451:53 51:9%
Tim Thomas, Panthers 650:33 1,341:55 48.5%
Carter Hutton, Predators 496:04 1,274:43 38.9%
Reto Berra, Flames 456:00 1,338:27 34.1%

(Photo: Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

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Kentucky 87, Robert Morris 49: Some belated thoughts

Written by Craig Meyer on .

http://binaryapi.ap.org/9d898ea745b54677af8f14d510808df7/940x.jpg

(Photo: AP)

The game ended more than three days ago, but between traveling back from Lexington and high school football championships this weekend, things have been a little hectic on my end.

With Robert Morris’ next game later tonight, it’s time to look back on its previous one.

*** I don’t want to downgrade this team too much, but I don’t think people can be surprised by last Sunday’s result. Kentucky was a 4.5-point favorite in the last game, with a talented yet disappointing group playing on the road in a tournament in which, let’s face it, there was really nothing to play for.

Sunday, the Wildcats were a 21-point favorite at home, where they’ve lost only twice under John Calipari. Add in the fact that this is a team built around probably the best freshman class in the history of the sport, one that has something to prove in an early juncture in the season.

I was thinking Kentucky may win by about 28-30, but once you get over a certain margin of victory, it seems like splitting hairs.

*** A big part of the Colonials’ NIT win last March was its ability to get out to a 10-0 run and gaining some confidence in front of a charged home crowd. Even if it were on the road, getting out to a similar run on the road would have put a young, inexperienced team in a tough spot and neutralized a crowd of about 20,000.

Obviously, with that in mind, Kentucky went on that 17-2 run to start the game and that was really about all it needed.

*** The other side of that fact was that RMU really couldn’t have gotten off to a worse shooting start. It took them over eight minutes to make their first shot – from Aaron Tate of all people – and it missed 24 of its first 30 shots.

Andy Toole talked about it some in the postgame press conference, but these weren’t bad or rushed shots the team was taking. Most of them were pretty open looks, many of which came from the outside. It took RMU a while to start making aggressive moves to the basket and even when they got to the basket, the shots still weren’t going in.

It could have just been an off shooting night, but given the combination of factors that were present entering the game, it could have easily been nerves, too. That’s not something that people are necessarily are going to admit, but it sure looked like the case at times.

*** I mentioned it in my game story, but these are both teams that are having to work in new parts, but there’s a big difference when you’re incorporating a solid group of newcomers and when you’re incorporating five of the top 11 freshmen in the 2013 class.

For example, Jeremiah Worthem is kind of a homeless man’s* Julius Randle – a freshman with a strong body who has a strong inside-outside game and is a potential matchup nightmare. The obvious difference is that Randle is a projected top-three pick in a loaded draft class while Worthem, barring anything unexpected, will be a four-year player at a mid-major school. That kind of a difference in talent between the two teams showed Sunday.

(* The term “a poor man’s” is used a lot, but it’s usually if someone just isn’t quite as good as someone more accomplished like, say, “Matt Ryan is a poor man’s Tom Brady.” I’m sure someone’s already come up with this term, but when the gap is bigger, I use “homeless man’s.”)

*** Heading into that game, the reality was that RMU was going to have to double or triple-team Randle. It has limited frontcourt options to begin with and even Michigan State – the No. 1 team in the country – had to use the same strategy. What that does, though, is leave guys open on the perimeter and if the big man is a capable passer – which Randle is – those guys are going to get those looks and, more often than not, make those shots. Aaron Harrison’s statline speaks to as much.

*** I didn’t really realize it until checking the box score, but RMU actually took more shots (69) than Kentucky (57). Obviously, the difference is what you do with those shots and the Colonials missed 53 of those field goal attempts while the Wildcats made about half of theirs.

*** I’m not sure if it was caught on TV, but at one point, John Calipari was out near midcourt hopping on one leg and yelling at Aaron Harrison to defend. If some enterprising Kentucky fan out there could GIF that, that would be great.

*** I was obviously impressed with Randle, but if there’s an overlooked pro on that Kentucky team, it’s James Young. He’s absurdly long (for 6-6) and athletic with a pretty good-looking jump shot. I was kind of thinking of a smaller Lamar Odom when I saw him, but I’m not great at comparisons and I’d rather not subject him to the possibility of marrying a Kardashian in a few years.

*** There were almost too many signs of how much had changed between RMU’s first meeting with Kentucky and its one on Sunday, but this one in particular stood out to me (I mentioned it on Twitter during the game): UK point guard Jarrod Polson played 31 minutes in the NIT game and was sometimes the team’s best player on the court. Last Sunday, he didn’t get in until there were less than four minutes remaining.

*** In the loss, the Colonials averaged just 0.62 points per possession. That’s their worst mark in a game since a loss to Drexel in 2007. On the bright side, they weren’t that bad on defense, as the Wildcats averaged 1.22 points per possession. That’s a good number, but it’s actually their second-lowest of the season.

*** Overall, Sunday’s loss isn’t a great barometer of where this team is right now and where it can possibly go. Toole described it as a humbling experience and for the members of the team, it was a reminder that there’s a time to move on from that moment, no matter how great it may have been for them.

It could turn out to be a positive experience for them, though I’ve always been kind of leery of how playing in Rupp Arena in November prepares a team for a game in front of 1,000 people at Central Connecticut State in February. It’s a single game and there’s never too much to make out of a single 40 minutes of basketball. The remaining part of the non-conference slate will tell a lot about where this team is headed, but, as it is in any mid or low-major conference, it’s all about how you do once league play starts.

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Empty Netter Assists - 11-21-13

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Penguins

-Dave Molinari's recap from last night's game. "I was hoping they would show the replay, but I guess they don't show replays of our goals." - Beau Bennett on Sidney Crosby's power-play goal.

-The Washington Post's recap. “It’s very disappointing, obviously we knew they’re a great team and we knew they were going to come out hard and they did. We weren’t ready. After that, they controlled the game.” - Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom.

-The Associated Press' recap. "To get that many quick passes in - you enjoy those, because you don't see those too often." - Crosby (above) on his power-play goal.

-Highlights:

-Crosby's goal deserves its own clip:

-Mike Lange's goal calls.

-Exuberant times for Crosby and Chris Kunitz:

-Matt Niskanen battled Washington's Mikhail Grabovski for this puck:

-Happy times for the Penguins:

-Marc-Andre Fleury playing a puck:

-Fleury and Crosby having a moment:

-Brooding times for Washington captain Alex Ovechkin:

-It was that kind of night for Washington's Braden Holtby:

-Dan Bylsma speaks:

-Crosby speaks:

-Holtby has some lousy career numbers against the Penguins.

-Rob Scuderi is still a long way away from returning to the lineup.

-“Of course he’s frustrated. Of course he starts thinking and thinking more and more about it. He just have to relax and forget about it.” - Ovechkin on Evgeni Malkin's goal-scoring slump.

-Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers made 23 saves for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in a 3-1 road win against the Rochester Americans.

-Highlights:

-Zack Torquato had a regulation goal and an assist for the Wheeling Nailers in a 3-2 road shootout loss to the Reading Royals. Mike Condon made 36 saves for the Nailers.

-After the Jump: The Devils get lucky in Anaheim.

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Savage to play Saturday, plus defensive notes

Written by Sam Werner on .

Pitt quarterback Tom Savage said Wednesday that his knee, which he injured late in the first half against North Carolina, was good to go and that he will play against Syracuse Saturday. This isn't a huge surprise, since Savage returned for the second half against the Tar Heels, but it's reassuring for Pitt fans nonetheless.

"I just tweaked something," Savage said. "It scared the crap out of me on the field. I'm good to go, though."

Savage said he got x-rays taken at halftime, but after they came back negative and gave the knee a test on the field, he was ready to go.

"Ultimately, you don't want to hurt the team," he said. "I'm not fast, but you don't want to put someone out there who legitimately can't move. But I was good to go. I kind of tested it out at halftime."

Defensive coordinator Matt House also met with the media today, and here are a couple of notes from his session...

- Cornerback Lafayette Pitts admitted Tuesday that he hasn't played up to his own expectations this season. After a stellar freshman campaign, Pitts has been up and down a little bit more this year.
"I think he's struggled a little bit, but certainly it hasn't been to the point where it's hurt us," House said. "The one thing you love and appreciate about Lafayette is he wants to be the best. He's probably his toughest critic."

- Add House to the list of people praising defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who is up for just about every major award a defensive tackle can win.
"I haven't seen a defensive tackle dominate a game like he has, in our conference or anywhere," House said.
The big question moving forward is how Donald's talent translates to the NFL. He's a bit undersized at 6-foot, but House, who spent four years coaching in the Rams and Panthers organizations, was confident Donald will find a role.
"I know he'll have a niche," House said. "Having been fortunate enough to coach on that level, I've seen guys that are smaller than AD that have played eight, nine years in defensive tackle."

- House admitted that the absence of cornerbacks Trenton Coles and Titus Howard forced the Panthers to alter their defensive gameplan against North Carolina. Rather than sub in a cornerback for nickel situations, Pitt moved safety Jason Hendricks down into a coverage role and put freshman Terrish Webb in at safety.
"He [Hendricks] plays faster than he'd run in a 40, because he understands how to play the game and he plays with good leverage most of the time," Houses aid. "He's a film junkie. He studies the snot out of tape."

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