Pittsburgh -- The Robert Morris University men's basketball team, the two-time defending champions of the Northeast Conference, will play a 29-game regular-season schedule under first-year head coach Andrew Toole in 2010-11.
The Colonials kick off their season with an exhibition contest against McGill University of Montreal, Quebec, Tuesday, Nov. 2, at 7:30 p.m. at the Charles L. Sewall Center.
RMU will open its 35th season of Division I basketball and its 2010-11 regular season Saturday, Nov. 13, with a 4:00 p.m. tip against Saint Peter's at the Sewall Center. It marks the first season opener at home for the Colonials since earning a 72-66 win over Iona to open their 2007-08 campaign.
All-time Robert Morris owns a record of 17-17 (.500) in season openers but are 13-2 (.867) in season openers at home, including a mark of 7-2 (.778) at the Sewall Center.
Also on the non-conference slate for Robert Morris in 2010-11 are road games at Kent State (Nov. 16), Pittsburgh (Nov. 23), Cleveland State (Nov. 29), West Virginia (Dec. 7), Appalachian State (Dec. 18), Arizona (Dec. 22), Morgan State (Dec. 30) and Ohio (Jan. 2) and home tilts against Duquesne (Nov. 19) and Youngstown State (Dec. 11).
"Our non-conference schedule is a challenging run of teams," Toole said. "The more success that we've had as a program, the harder it's been to schedule non-conference opponents, and this year was no different. We'll be playing a number of programs that were either conference champions or challenged for a conference championship last year, and it will be a great test for our guys to help us gauge how far we've come as a program."
RMU's game at Kent State Tuesday, Nov. 16, is part of ESPN's third annual College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon, which is highlighted by 12 live college basketball games in 24 consecutive hours. The Colonials will tip with the Golden Flashes at the Memorial Athletic & Convocation Center in Kent, Ohio, at 8:00 a.m. Kent State won the Mid-American Conference (MAC) East title last season and advanced to the second round of the postseason National Invitation Tournament (NIT).
"Our game against Kent State is obviously interesting became of the 8:00 a.m. start time, but it's another unique experience that we can present to our student-athletes," Toole said. "We have an opportunity to be on national television on ESPN, and it's something our guys will remember for the rest of their lives. In addition, it's another opportunity to create more exposure for our program, because everyone that will turn on ESPN that day will get to see quality college basketball."
The three-time defending champion of the NEC regular season, Robert Morris opens league play with a two-game road swing through Brooklyn, N.Y. The Colonials will travel to Long Island Thursday, Dec. 2, before visiting St. Francis (N.Y.) Saturday, Dec. 4.
NEC play begins in earnest Thursday, Jan. 6, when RMU takes on Wagner at the Spiro Sports Center on Staten Island, N.Y., in a 7:00 p.m. tip before visiting Mount St. Mary's Saturday, Jan. 8.
"The games against Northeast Conference competition are the 18 most important games on our schedule," Toole said. "We've had the luxury of opening our league schedule at home the last couple of seasons, but this year we start on the road, so that will be different for us. For our younger guys, it will be a test. Even with that, we understand how important the league games are, and we'll prepare our guys both mentally and physically to be ready for the challenge."
Robert Morris opens the home portion of its league slate Thursday, Jan. 13, when it entertains Fairleigh Dickinson in a 7:00 p.m. tip at the Sewall Center. Over the last 10 seasons, the Colonials have posted a record of 94-42 (.691) at home, including a mark of 65-27 (.707) against league foes.
In addition to RMU's success at home, the Colonials finished the decade of the 2000s tops in the Northeast Conference for overall victories with 162. Robert Morris also owns NEC records for victories over a two (50 from 2007 to 2009), three (73 from 2007 to 2010), four (90 from 2006-10) and five (105 from 2005 to 2010) year spans in league history.
The Colonials return two starters from a 2009-10 team that finished with an overall record of 23-12 (.657) and captured their second consecutive NEC Tournament title thanks to a 52-50 win at Quinnipiac in the 2010 NEC Tournament championship game.
Sophomore guard Karon Abraham (Paterson, N.J. / Harp Academy), the reigning NEC Rookie of the Year and NEC Tournament MVP, led RMU last season in scoring with an average of 13.6 points per game.
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