St. Francis men cut down Stonehill by more than a hair

Feb. 11—LORETTO — Cutting Samson's hair deprived him of his power, but a fresh trim seemed to be in order for Bobby Rosenberger.

At least, if his mom had anything to say about it.

"She said it was getting too shaggy," said Rosenberger, St. Francis University's 6-foot-5 starting freshman swingman. "A couple of weeks ago, she was nagging me about getting a haircut multiple times. Then she ended up going to my roommate, Aidan (Harris), and my coach telling me to get a haircut."

"I told Bobby to tell his mom if he didn't get a haircut, I wasn't going to play him," Red Flash coach Rob Krimmel said.

After his mandated trip to the barber, Rosenberger and fellow freshman Ace Talbert chopped up visiting Stonehill 72-63 in a Northeast Conference game their team needed to win at DeGol Arena on Saturday afternoon.

Both players registered career highs in the win: Rosenberger with 22 points and Talbert with 21. Rosenberger also matched the best rebounding game of his young career with nine.

Harris and Carlos Lopez each finished with eight points for the Red Flash. The Skyhawks managed to limit St. Francis standout first-year post Eli Wilborn to four points, but Wilborn collected seven rebounds, six assists and two blocks.

The Red Flash (8-16, 3-8 NEC) played without leading scorer Cam Gregory for the fourth game in a row for a violation of team rules, but sophomore reserve post Gestin Liberis returned from injury and logged four minutes off the bench.

Rosenberger said his mother probably was happier with her son's haircut than his performance, but the result held extra meaning for the Red Flash.

The Northeast Conference only is taking eight of its nine teams for its tournament this year. While there's still a lot of the season to be played, St. Francis gave itself a little big of breathing room for eighth place over the Skyhawks (3-23, 1-10) with the victory, Krimmel's 100th in conference play.

"You get to this point in the year and it's playoff basketball," Krimmel said. "You want to be one of the eight teams, obviously, but you're also fighting to get that seed. That's the mindset that these guys have to have, and I think they displayed that."

St. Francis honored Jorden McClure on 10 years with the program as inspirational and spiritual motivator before the game and never trailed during it.

"It's a credit to the focus and the energy that these guys have," Krimmel said.

St. Francis flirted with pulling away from the Skyhawks a couple of times before Rosenberger and Talbert finally made it stick with play after play starting with Talbert's 3-pointer at the 6:11 mark to make it 56-48.

The next time down the floor, Talbert penetrated and shot a laser pass to Rosenberger in the corner for a trey. Then Rosenberger attacked, zig-zagged through the Stonehill zone and laid it in for two more.

After another defensive stop by the Red Flash, Talbert showed off his brawn, hanging in the air until he shed a defender and powered in a layup for the third time in the game.

Fittingly, Talbert and Rosenberger ran a two-on-one break for a basket by the latter to hike the margin to 18 — 68-50 — with just 3:47 remaining.

"With many games under my wings now, I feel more confident, and I feel a lot more comfortable," said Rosenberger, who was 8-for-15 from the field. "Just coming in as a freshman can be nerve-wracking, but, over conference play, I feel like I've become a lot more comfortable with the ball."

It was the first time for Talbert to score in double digits in more than a month. He completed a four-game double-figure string with 14 points against Sacred Heart on Jan. 4 ... ironically, right before getting a haircut.

A pass-first point guard, Talbert dished out five assists. However, he also had a career-best five 3-pointers on just seven attempts beyond the arc.