Irish earn first victory of the season against Robert Morris
Observer Sports Staff | Monday, November 11, 2019
This past Saturday, the men’s basketball team recorded their first win of the season by handily defeating the Robert Morris Colonials of the Northeast Conference by a score of 92-57. Although the offense started slow for the Irish, it would heat up as the game went on, and the defense had a stellar performance across the board.
The game highlighted the depth of the Irish team as a whole, as the team scored 42 points off the bench. In a game where nine players received at least 10 minutes of playing time, five different players put up double digits in the scoring category. Leading the way for the Irish was sophomore guard Dane Goodwin, who scored 18 points despite playing less than half of the game. Goodwin took advantage of every shot he had, making six of eight from the floor and shooting a perfect five-for-five from the free throw line on the day. Also scoring double digits for the Irish were senior guard T.J. Gibbs with 15, sophomore guards Prentiss Hubb and Robby Carmody with 13, and senior forward John Mooney with 10. Mooney also recorded 10 rebounds en route to his first double-double of the season.
Mooney started the scoring for the Irish on Saturday afternoon with an easy layup on the left side, and the Irish led the game from that point on. Following a defensive stop, Gibbs got an easy layup of his own to put the Irish up 4-0 early. Senior Josh Williams responded by getting the Colonials on the board with a three pointer. The Irish continued to make their easy shots, as senior forward Juwan Durham converted the easy layup on the assist from graduate student guard Rex Pflueger. At the under-16 timeout, the Irish lead was 6-3.
After a basket from the Colonials, Carmody made a contested shot as the shot clock expired to put the Irish up 8-5. Carmody answered again on the next possession, knocking down a jump shot from just inside the arc. The Irish missed a few shots on the ensuing possession, but Dane Goodwin knocked down a much-needed jumper to end the scoring drought and put the Irish up 12-8 at the under-12 timeout.
Gibbs hit the first three of the day for the Irish around the halfway point of the first half, putting the Irish up 17-8. Following a made three by the Colonials, Pflueger and Durham got to the line and each knocked down two free throws. The Irish led 21-13 heading into the under-eight timeout. Making free throws was integral to the eventual Irish victory, as the team shot 88% from the free throw line, converting on 22 out of 25 attempts.
The Irish slowly started to stretch their lead at the end of the second half, and they did not look back for the remainder of the game. Following and-ones by Carmody and Goodwin, the Irish led 30-15. On the ensuing possession, sophomore forward Nate Laszewski made a statement throwdown dunk. The Irish continued to build momentum on the defensive side of the ball as well, drawing a charge heading into the under-four timeout.
Following a five-point run by the Colonials, Prentiss Hubb answered in a big way. Hubb converted on a contested layup on one possession before making a contested three pointer on the next possession to put the Irish up 37-20. Mooney converted on an easy layup and the defense got another stop, giving the Irish a comfortable 39-20 lead at the half.
Despite a great first half, the Irish came out of the locker room looking even better by going on a 16-3 run over the first four minutes of the half to extend their lead to 55-23. The versatility of the Irish offense was showcased in this run, which included a mix of three pointers, dunks and mid-range jump shots. Robert Morris cut the lead to 55-28 before a 7-0 Irish run that gave them a very comfortable 62-30 lead with 12 minutes remaining.
The Irish offense continued to keep up the intensity, showing their potential for the remainder of the season. At the under-eight timeout, the Irish led by 37 points at a score of 73-36. At this point, the Irish pulled the majority of the starters for the rest of the game, and when all was said and done, the result was a comfortable 35-point victory.
The offense for the Irish was much improved compared to Wednesday night’s loss to North Carolina. The Irish shot significantly better, shooting 57% from the floor and 37% from beyond the arc. The offense also took advantage of Robert Morris’ 14 turnovers, scoring 23 points off of these turnovers. The defense was solid throughout the game as well, recording five blocks and five steals.
The Irish are back in action at the Purcell Pavilion on Tuesday at 7 p.m. when they will face off against the Howard Bison, who are also from the Northeast Conference.