RMU holds off Texas-Arlington
Things were back to normal Thursday for Robert Morris.
The Colonials returned home from a three-game road trip and were playing a team comparable to them, not one loaded with future NBA players like their last opponent, Kentucky.
Robert Morris (3-2) snapped a two-game losing streak, defeating Texas-Arlington from the Sun Belt Conference, 88-81, in the Keightley Classic at Sewall Center.
Robert Morris, which hadn't played since falling at Kentucky on Sunday, never trailed after racing out to a 14-0 lead on the hot shooting of senior guard Karvel Anderson.
The Colonials led by as much as 41-26 in the first half thanks to Anderson, who scored 18 of his team-high 24 points in the first half. He was 8 for 10 from beyond the 3-pointer line, tying his record for 3s in a game.
“I've been putting in a lot of extra work in,” Anderson said. “Regardless if it's a zone or man, we have to attack.”
Texas-Arlington (2-4), which lost at Kentucky on Tuesday, has dropped three-consecutive games.
Anderson's hot shooting forced Texas-Arlington coach Scott Cross to call three timeouts in the first half.
“I'm sure if you asked Scott after the game, he would have liked to save them for the second half,” Robert Morris coach Andy Toole said. “I like to save mine, which is why I let the team play it out when they rallied in the second half.
“I'm happy that we got the win. We definitely find ways to make it interesting. Obviously we got off to a great start. I wish we would play as urgent defensively as the game continued. We made enough plays at the end to pull it out.”
Texas-Arlington, which averaged 89.9 points per game, eventually tied the score at 67-67 with 6:16 left on a 3-pointer by Reger Dowell, who ended up with a game-high 26 points. Dowell has scored at least 20 points in every game this season.
Five players finished in double-figures for Texas-Arlington, including 15 from Jamel Outler.
The Colonials went on a 6-0 run to reclaim the lead on a basket by Anthony Myers-Pate and two buckets by Mike McFadden.
Myers-Pate sealed the victory in the final 1:03 by going 6 for 6 from the free throw line. He finished with 10 points and nine assists.
“My job is to make my teammates happy,” Myers-Pate said. “Coach told me at the end of the game, ‘It's the time (Velton Jones) would step up and takes control of the game.' It felt good to hear that. The guys were making shots, made me look good.”
Desjuan Newton came up with two keys plays late. He defended a breakaway layup by Dowell with the Colonials leading 77-75, then picked up a loose ball and hit a reverse layup seconds later to push the lead to 79-75.
“Those are big plays in games,” Toole said. “He didn't give up and forced the guy to alter his shot. Karvel is a guy when it doesn't go in, it's a surprise. We want him to stay aggressive.”
Lucky Jones had 15 points and 10 rebounds, while Charles Oliver added 11 off the bench.