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Colonials Unveil 2017-18 Schedule

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Eight home games at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, Pa., participation in the Grand Canyon Classic and a full slate of Northeast Conference (NEC) contests highlight the 2017-18 Robert Morris University men's basketball schedule.

The Colonials will open their 42nd season of Division I basketball Friday, Nov. 10, at Ohio State. RMU owns a record of 20-21 (.488) all-time in season openers, including a mark of 3-4 (.429) under eighth-year head coach Andrew Toole.

The season-opening contest against the Buckeyes begins a stretch seven consecutive games away from home and will see the Colonials visit five different states, including Ohio, Arizona, California, Arkansas and New York. It marks the longest stretch to open a season without a home game since the 2000-01 campaign, when Robert Morris also opened the year with seven consecutive games away from home.

RMU travels to Phoenix, Ariz., after taking on the Buckeyes to open play in the Grand Canyon Classic Monday, Nov. 13, against the host Antelopes. The Colonials will also visit San Diego (Nov. 15) in the Grand Canyon Classic before returning to Western Pennsylvania to take on Duquesne (Nov. 19) at the A.J. Palumbo Center.

Robert Morris concludes play in the Grand Canyon Classic with a pair of games at Little Rock. The Colonials square off with Norfolk State Friday, Nov. 24, before taking on the Trojans Saturday, Nov. 25. RMU concludes its road trip to open the season with games at Youngstown State (Nov. 29) and Siena (Dec. 2).

The home portion of the 2017-18 schedule for Robert Morris begins Wednesday, Dec. 6, when the Colonials host Rider for a 7:00 p.m. tip at PPG Paints Arena. The game against the Broncs is one of eight contests that will be played at PPG Paints Arena during the 2017-18 regular season. Included in that is a non-conference matchup with Drexel (Dec. 10) and six league games.

RMU won a pair of games at PPG Paints Arena last season, earning a 64-60 win over Duquesne (12/6/16) and a 74-71 victory over Buffalo (12/21/16).

A total of four games on RMU's 2017-18 regular-season slate will be played at a site to be determined and will be announced at a later date. Included in that group is the regular season non-conference finale against Canisius (Dec. 22) as well as NEC tilts against St. Francis Brooklyn (Jan. 4), Bryant (Feb. 15) and Central Connecticut (Feb. 17).

Robert Morris christens NEC play with a two-game road swing through New England. The Colonials will visit Bryant Friday, Dec. 29, before traveling to New Britain, Conn., to take on Central Connecticut Sunday, Dec. 31.

Led by Toole, RMU returns a pair of starters in 2017-18, including junior guard Matty McConnell and sophomore Dachon Burke. Both McConnell and Burke played in all 33 games for the Colonials last season. Burke earned 17 starts and ranked third for Robert Morris in scoring at 7.6 points per game.

McConnell added averages of 7.3 points and 4.4 rebounds per contest and ranked third in the NEC in steals per game (1.64). In the 2017 NEC Tournament, McConnell averaged 19.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.0 steals as RMU advanced to the semifinals for the ninth time in the last 10 years.

In seven seasons under Toole, Robert Morris has compiled an overall record of 134-106 (.558), including a mark of 82-42 (.661) against NEC opponents. Toole has guided the Colonials to a pair of NEC regular-season championships (2013, 2014) as well as the 2015 NEC Tournament title.

Since the beginning of the 2007-08 season, RMU has posted an overall record of 207-136 (.603) and has appeared in the NCAA Tournament three times (2009, 2010, 2015), the NIT on three occasions (2008, 2013, 2014) and the 2012 Postseason Tournament.

Schedule Notes:

- The 2017-18 Robert Morris schedule features four programs that appeared in a postseason tournament last season. Mount St. Mary's appeared in the NCAA Tournament, while Norfolk State, Canisius and Saint Francis U participated in the Postseason Tournament.

- Under head coach Andrew Toole, Robert Morris posted a record of 66-32 (.673) at the Charles L. Sewall Center. Overall in 32 seasons at "The Chuck" the Colonials finished with a mark of 278-149 (.651), claiming four NEC Tournament (1989, 1990, 1992, 2009) championships.

- Over the last 10 seasons, RMU has compiled a record of 120-50 (.706) against NEC opposition, including a mark of 65-24 (.730) at home.

- The most games in school history on the road to start a season came in 1990-91, when Robert Morris played its first nine games away from home. The Colonials played their first two contests on the road, defeated Texas A&M (11/30/90), 105-86, in a neutral site contest as part of the Marshall Classic in Huntington, W. Va., and then played its next six games on the road. The first home game for RMU that season came Dec. 27, 1990, in an 84-79 win over Niagara at the Sewall Center.