Halftime: Robert Morris 28, Villanova 22

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- First-half impressions from Robert Morris’ stunning 28-22 halftime lead over Villanova:

  • Villanova coach Jay Wright benched starters Scottie Reynolds and Corey Fisher for a “teaching moment.” The teaching issue didn’t last more than four minutes but there was clearly an effect.

Wright was making a statement to his players and the team, and the flow of the squad was clearly affected. Remember, Villanova was also integrating Taylor King, who had been disciplined last week.

Reynolds committed two turnovers, including an offensive foul, when he came into the game. He finished the half missing all five shots, including four 3s. Fisher wasn’t any better, getting to the free throw line twice and missing both. The Wildcats were a meager 2-of-12 on 3s and got hammered on the boards 21-10.

  • I’ve had countless coaches tell me that going to the NCAA tournament one time for the low- to mid-majors is a big deal for that experience the second time around. Cornell is hoping that will be the case the third time. Well, RMU sure is making the argument for it to be a trendy theme. RMU was the aggressor from the start and showed no fear.

  • To pull off an upset like this, you need a big-time scorer to go off. It’s a must. RMU has one in the shortest player on the floor. Karon Abraham, a 5-foot-9 guard, unloaded three 3s in a quick stretch to give the Colonials the advantage.

  • While Nova’s Maurice Sutton is the one who is being the most active for the Wildcats, it’s the continued aggressive play by Dallas Green and Russell Johnson, showing no fear in going right back at the Cats, that is helping RMU stay out front.

  • You know there has to be a run in Nova. There has to be.

  • There’s a reason Nova lost five of its last seven games and limped into the NCAAs. The Cats were struggling and weren’t in rhythm.

  • Nova’s lifeless attitude can’t continue in the second half for it to win.

  • Villanova never should have been a No. 2 seed in this region. West Virginia should be the 2. But that’s an old debate.

  • If Fordham and Seton Hall athletic directors weren’t watching this game, they should be now. RMU’s Mike Rice, a Fordham grad, should be atop their list.