By: BOBBY COZZIE
The Eagles of Robert Morris University dominated the Titans’ men and women on Saturday in back-to-back games.
The women’s team had an initial hot start, but it was short-lived as they quickly fell into a deficit they could not overcome.
The Titans shot just 30 percent from the field and were beaten in nearly every facet of the game.
The team recorded only nine assists to 15 turnovers, and was out-rebounded by 15, and was ultimately defeated by a score of 70-56, dropping the team’s record to 10-13 and just 4-8 in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC).
“What we’re lacking is an element of toughness,” said head coach Steve Bruce. “[Robert Morris] came in here and they just wanted it more. They were more aggressive with the rebounds. They were rerouting us when we tried to drive the ball. I think it’s a toughness issue. Our league’s too good. If you don’t have toughness you’re going to lose.”
Coach Bruce believes that a lack of mental toughness is the main cause of his team’s recent woes, as they are currently in a three game losing streak.
“I always talk about when you’re in the right place mentally you’ll be in the right place physically. I thought we would be in the right place mentally. We knew this was a very important game…we just didn’t match the level of their competitive effort.”
The men’s game held a similar result as the Titans found themselves down big early to the number-15-ranked Eagles.
The Titans shot nearly 47 percent for the game, but just 33 percent in the first half, and entered the locker room trailing 43-29.
The Titans were dominated on the offensive boards and out-rebounded overall by 15, committed 14 turnovers and only managed to muster nine assists.
The second half was much better statistically for the Titans, but the poor start to the game proved too much to overcome, and the Titans ultimately fell to the Eagles 97-78, moving their record to 13-9 overall and 6-7 in the CCAC, and the team has now lost two straight.
“[Robert Morris] played really well. You’ve got to give them all the credit, but a lot of mistakes on our part,” said head coach Scott Cooper. “We gave up 28 second chance points. That’s way too many. They had 18 points off of turnovers, which are our mistakes. Some of the stuff was us not being mentally ready to go.”
Coach Cooper said that correcting some simple mental lapses will steer his team in the right direction.
“Making sure we box out and finish plays defensively and rebound and making sure we’re taking care of the ball on offense and we’ll be fine,” added Coach Cooper.
The Titans’ next games are on Wednesday, Jan. 27, at Holy Cross College. The women’s game tips off at 5:30 p.m., followed by the men at 7:30 p.m. The next home games for the Titans are on Wednesday, Feb. 3, against the Trolls of Trinity Christian College. The women play at 5:30 p.m. followed by the men at 7:30 p.m., in what are being dubbed as “blackout” games.