Sports

Parise: Wagner-Robert Morris, Big Time Hoops On Staten Island

(credit: Twitter.com/@WagnerAthletics)

(credit: Twitter.com/@WagnerAthletics)

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By Vin Parise
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One of the season’s biggest games in the area will be played on Staten Island tonight. At 7:00 pm Andy Toole’s Robert Morris Colonials will battle Dan Hurley’s Wagner Seahawks. Both teams are chasing LIU for the top of the NEC standings. I caught up with both head coaches on their keys to the game.

Andy Toole – RMU – 16-7, 7-3

On his team right now…

“Honestly, I’m very confused about our team. We played great vs LIU and awful vs St. Francis-NY. I don’t know what team is going to show up some nights.”

On the match up with Wagner…

“They are physical and they defend the heck out of you. And they do a million things offensively in the half court. Their playbook is enormous and they play with such precision on the offensive end. They never have a let down game and Danny is doing a terrific job.”

Keys to Winning…

Offensively: “We need to be poised when we have the ball tonight. The atmosphere will be loud and we’ll have to make good decisions. Our poise will dictate our offensive success.”

Defensively: “We need to slow down their perimeter attack. If Tyler Murray, Jonathon Williams and Latif Rivers all have good games, we’re in a lot of trouble tonight.”

Dan Hurley – Wagner – 17-4, 8-2

On his team right now…

We’re playing very hard right now and the kids are doing a great job. However, we have to maintain who we’ve been throughout the year. As a staff and team, we probably got too caught up with making our home game vs LIU life and death. There’s a lot of basketball left to be played.”

On the match up with Robert Morris…

“I think the programs are similar in a lot of ways. Both teams play with an edge and both teams have tough city kids from New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia. This is going to be a tough one tonight. This team plays as hard as we do. I think it’s the calling card of both coaching staffs.”

Keys to Winning…

Offensively…

“Our perimeter players need to be able to put the ball on the floor and make big plays tonight. Robert Morris switches on defense so well that they take you out of your flow offensively. You simply have to make plays at the end of the shot clock vs them.”

Defensively…

“Velton Jones and Coron Williams have hurt us in the past so we have to do a good job on them. Kenny Ortiz is going to have to play big for us defensively tonight.

Overtime Info:

* 4 of RMU’s 7 losses were to Penn, Pitt, Cleveland State and Memphis.

* Wagner’s 4 losses are UConn, Lehigh at the buzzer and LIU twice.

* Hurley told me that Michigan State transfer Dwaun Anderson may end up being one of the top players he’s ever coached. And he’s including J.R. Smith and all the pros he coached at St. Benedict’s.

What’s your prediction for Wagner-Robert Morris? Sound off below…