UNF falls to Robert Morris in First Four despite coach’s ‘dude’ speech

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Robert Morris is going on to face Duke in the Round of 64 following an exciting 81-77 win over North Florida in the two teams’ First Four clash in Dayton.

It’s the Colonials’ first NCAA Tournament win since the opening game in the 1983 NCAA Tournament.

The game was generally really fun overall. The Colonials got out to a strong start in this one on the back of six points each from Rodney Pryor and Elijah Minnie, as well as North Florida struggling to adjust to the Robert Morris zone defense. But then, North Florida coach Matthew Driscoll got his team going in a television timeout with a speech that he discussed at halftime with Evan Washburn:

Martin Rickman of UPROXX Sports transcribed the full speech (as well as took the video above):

“I just told the guys they obviously want this more than we do,” Driscoll said. “Nothing I can do about it. Between the black lines, it’s about players being players. Ballers make plays. Dudes are dudes. That’s the way life works. I just told them they just want it more than we do right now. There’s nothing I can change. There’s no schematic I can draw up or some special dust I can…just play and be a baller.”

The legendary “dude” speech spurred a big Osprey run to close the first half, as North Florida really started to figure out the Robert Morris zone through exceptional ball movement and timely 3-point shooting. North Florida’s Beau Beech had 19 points in the game’s first 21 minutes, including five 3-pointers himself as he basically busted the zone with his shooting.

That hot shooting led Robert Morris’s coach Andy Toole to switch to more of a man-to-man look in the second half, which spurred a big Colonial run of its own. The Colonials went on a 16-4 run behind Marcquise Reed to bring the deficit to within one before another UNF run took it back out to eight points. But then a quick 10-1 run from Robert Morris, gave the Colonials a lead they would never relinquish, although some shaky foul shooting down the stretch for Robert Morris compared to perfect foul-shooting for the Ospreys brought it closer than it should have been.

Lucky Jones was the key for the Colonials, scoring 21 points, grabbing seven rebounds and snatching five steals throughout the course of the game, as well as providing incredible energy during all of the Robert Morris runs.

The Colonials are the winner of the prize to face Duke on Friday at 7:10 ET. Given that the Colonials have no one bigger than 6-foot-9, 230 pounds, I can’t imagine them having an easy time against potential No. 1 overall pick Jahlil Okafor, but it should be fun to see if coach Toole and company can keep it close for a while.

Robert Morris beat North Florida for the opportunity to play Duke on Friday. (USATSI)
Robert Morris beat North Florida for the opportunity to play Duke on Friday. (USATSI)

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