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Wednesday December 11 2019
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Robert Morris NCAA run ends with loss to Duke

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Rodney Pryor had 23 points and Marcquise Reed 22, but 16-seed Robert Morris fell to top-seeded Duke 85-56 in Charlotte.

Five Duke players scored in double figures, with senior guard Quinn Cook and freshman center Jahlil Okar leading the pack with 22 and 21 points respectively.

Duke established dominance in the opening half after Cook set the tone by scoring back-to-back 3-pointers, leading to an eventual 10-0 run as the Blue Devils took a 26-9 lead with 10:46 remaining.

Robert Morris struggled to get shots, shooting just 34 percent from the field in the opening half. The RMU big men—6-5 junior Aaron Tate, 6-9 junior Lionel Gomis and 6-8 freshman Andre Fredrick—were no match for Duke’s 6-11 Jahlil Okafor and 7-0 junior Marshall Plumlee, whose low post presence allowed wide open slams and easy buckets underneath.

RMU’s Reed was hitting consistent jumpers, and Pryor's one-handed dunk with three minutes on the clock was an early highlight for the NEC champions, but they could not out-maneuver Duke's full court pressure. The Blue Devils took a comfortable 42-25 lead into halftime.

In the second half, Duke appeared to let their foot off the pedal, becoming careless with the ball and showboating, as Okafor missed a reverse dunk with 15:27 on the clock. RMU took full advantage of Duke's relaxed demeanor to go on a 12-2 run within 2:46 minutes of play to cut Duke's 20-point lead to 10. Pryor, Reed and Lucky Jones keyed the run and Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski felt he had seen enough and called a timeout.

Krzyzewski's words must have resonated with Blue Devil Players, as a rejuvenated Duke was able to regain the lead by scoring eight unanswered points courtesy of freshman forward Justise Winslow. Okafor's layup at 9:33 gave Duke a 20-point lead of 66-46. RMU tried to apply full court pressure and answer back but failed to get to the basket and missed seven consecutive shots.

Duke out-rebounded Robert Morris 40 to 28, dished 28 assists to RMU’s 13 and shot 63 percent to the Colonials 36 percent. The Blue Devils shot 48 percent from beyond the arc while RMU shot just 31 percent.

Pryor and Reed were the only RMU players to score in double figures and combined for 45 out of RMU's 56 points.

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