Sports

Colonials and Ospreys clash in NCAA Tournament

Dayton, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - The NCAA Tournament's South Regional first- round clash on Wednesday night pits the Robert Morris Colonials against the North Florida Ospreys at UD Arena.

The winner will advance to the second round of the tournament to take on top- seeded Duke on Friday.

Robert Morris defeated Saint Francis-Brooklyn in the championship bout of the Northeast Conference Tournament to claim the league's automatic bid. The Colonials and top-seeded Terriers went down to the wire, but visiting Robert Morris came away with the 66-63 victory.

North Florida cruised through the Atlantic Sun Tournament, easily defeating teams like Stetson (81-67) and Lipscomb (71-57) en route to the championship contest. The Ospreys defeated USC Upstate, 63-57, in the title bout to earn the league's automatic bid.

This will be the first-ever meeting between Robert Morris and North Florida on the basketball court.

Robert Morris is making its eighth appearance in the NCAA Tournament in program history, and the team's third in the last seven years. The Colonials are 1-7 all-time, and will be looking to advance to the second round to take on top-seeded Duke. The Colonials took down Saint Francis-Brooklyn in the NEC Tournament title game to earn the automatic bid, and did so by using a strong defensive effort that limited the Terriers to 38.3 percent shooting from the field. Rodney Pryor netted 17 points to lead the team, adding in four steals. Elijah Minnie chipped in with 14 points, nine rebounds and four blocked shots, while Lucky Jones came off the bench to chip in 12 points in the win.

Pryor, the 2015 NEC Tournament MVP, leads the Colonials in scoring heading into the NCAA Tournament at 15.2 ppg, connecting on 47.9 percent of his field goal tries. Marcquise Reed contributes 14.8 ppg, and Jones rounds out a trio of double-digit scorers for the team with 14.3 ppg. Jones paces the squad on the boards with 6.0 rpg, and Minnie plays not-so-small ball by adding in a team- best 35 blocked shots. The Colonials are averaging 69.0 ppg, but have struggled a bit defensively by allowing 67.7 ppg to opponents.

North Florida knew it had to outpace the Atlantic Sun's leading scorer in the tournament title bout against USC Upstate. Ty Greene collected 21 points for the Spartans, but his effort wasn't enough to lift his team past the top- seeded Ospreys. Demarcus Daniels scored 22 points and grabbed six rebounds to pace the team, while Jalen Nesbitt chipped in with 16 points in the victory. All-Atlantic Sun First-Teamer Dallas Moore scored 13 points, and Chris Davenport brought down a team-high 10 rebounds in the win, which earned North Florida its first-ever trip to the Big Dance.

Moore leads his Ospreys in scoring heading into the tournament, netting 15.9 ppg with a team-best 123 assists. Beau Beech, another first-team all- conference selection for North Florida, adds in 12.5 ppg, Davenport contributes 11.5 ppg, and Nesbitt levels off a group of double-digit scorers for UNF at 10.8 ppg. Davenport heads into the tournament as the team's leading rebounder by grabbing 6.5 rpg, and Daniels adds in 53 blocked shots to pace the squad. The Ospreys are netting 75.7 ppg on 46.9 percent shooting, and are allowing 67.8 ppg to the opposition.