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Official Review by Joshua Guiher, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Robert Morris plays basketball in the Charles L. Sewell Center, which opened in 1985. It is a smaller gym with stands only on two sides of the court. The baselines are open with large areas behind each as the Sewell Center is a multi-purpose building used for both Robert Morris athletics and Moon Township community events.
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Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
Food options consist of hot dogs ($2), hamburgers ($3.50), nachos ($3), pretzels ($1.50) and popcorn ($1). Drinks are cans of Pepsi products for $1.50 and bottled water or Gatorade for $2. The entire concession area is just a couple of folding tables off of the home baseline with food kept warm by catering sternos.
I can't say that the atmosphere provided anything that stood out. There was one fan in the pep band that was wearing a rabbit head -- looking like half man, half Easter Bunny -- but he basically just stood there, not doing anything noteworthy. Entertainment was rotated between the 5 person dance team and the cheerleaders, who were pretty good.
There were not a whole lot of promotions during timeouts, but the mascot did a great job of coming around to all of the seating sections and posing for photos with the kids in attendance. The fan interaction from the mascot really helped keep the kids entertained.
Robert Morris is located in Moon Township, less than a mile from the Pittsburgh airport. In fact, don't be surprised to see planes directly overhead. There are plenty of places to shop and eat in the area including the ever popular Pittsburgh staple, Primanti Bros. If you are looking for breakfast, try Egg N'At, located right on University Boulevard. For lunch or dinner you can also try Hoss's Steak & Sea, a PA buffet chain that has a great bread bar.
The fans at Robert Morris were pretty loud for only having 1,157 in attendance the night I was there. In general, the crowd was a mix of older adults who seemed like avid followers of the program and a large number of families with small kids. The students were basically non-existent, with the pep band making up approximately half of the "Colonial Crazies" as they call the students.
For a team that made the past 2 NCAA tournaments and was good enough that they came within 1 possession of the NCAA tournament in 2011, it was an overall poor showing. Not to mention that a good portion of the alumni base still lives in the area and I was quite surprised that more people did not attend the game. The students really need to get out to the games and make some noise. It was truly the most disappointing part of the experience, especially with the recent program success.
Access to Robert Morris is extremely easy, since you take the same interstate that leads you to the airport. Once you get on campus, parking was easy to find and it was free, which is always nice.
Once inside, the ticket staff was just a few students. They were very helpful and since all tickets are general admission, it was an extremely fast transaction. Since there were not very many people there the night I attended, seats were easy to find and you had plenty of room for your belongings. However, I do recommend that you don't sit in the top 10 or 15 rows as the curtains that can be lowered to section off portions of the gym cut your vision of the scoreboard when up that high.
Bathrooms were very clean, but I did have to ask where they were located since there was no sign and they were out in a hallway on the opposite side of the main entrance.
Tickets were only $7 and you could easily find a seat in the first 5 or 10 rows, a great bargain for a NCAA tournament level team located on the edge of a major city. Great, affordable entertainment for a family in the area and the mascot interaction was a great bonus. The part that was lacking, and what keeps it from being rated higher, is that the lack of fans really killed the atmosphere.
It was nice for the school to give every fan a free can of Pepsi Max upon leaving considering they were selling it for $1.50 at the concession stand. Also, the trophy case display for the hall of fame, especially the special section for Earl Cureton who played in the NBA was a nice touch.
The recent success of the Robert Morris basketball team warrants a trip to the Sewell Center to watch a game, however don't expect to be greeted by ravenous fans loudly displaying their school spirit like at other Pennsylvania mid-major programs like Bucknell. You are more likely to experience a quiet evening of well played basketball in a small gym setting.
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8651 University Blvd
Moon Township, PA 15108
8556 University Blvd
Moon Township, PA 15108
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