Robert Morris rallies to defeat St. Francis (Pa.)
Robert Morris did something Thursday that St. Francis (Pa.) couldn't — finish.
The Colonials, a perennial NEC power, watched the visiting Red Flash erase a 14-point, second-half deficit to lead by 11 with 4 minutes, 36 seconds remaining.
But the Colonials didn't waver, finishing with a 19-3 flurry over the final 4:20 to rally for a 73-68 victory at Sewall Center.
The Colonials improved to 8-10, 3-0 in the NEC.
With St. Francis (3-13, 1-2) leading 65-54, RMU forward Lucky Jones started the comeback when he hit a 3-pointer.
Earl Brown hit a free throw to push the St. Francis lead to 66-57, but Jones, who finished with 12 points, hit two free throws and Jeremiah Worthem nailed a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 66-62.
The crowd went into a frenzy when Karvel Anderson drained a 3-pointer and Anthony Myers-Pate hit a bucket to push the Colonials to a 67-66 lead with 1:36 left.
When Aaron Tate hit a layup with 50.8 left, the Colonials had a 69-66 lead. Two free throws each by Anderson and Worthem over the final 13 seconds secured the win.
“We were thankful to have won the game,” coach Andy Toole said. “I thought we did a lot of good things the first 33 minutes of the game, and then we allowed them some opportunities to make some shots.
“But we were able to put it together in the final 4:40 and steal a win.”
St. Francis, which trailed 40-26 early in the second half, went on a 26-4 run to blow by RMU and take a 65-54 lead.
Reserve guards Ben Millaud-Meunier (17 points) and Dom Major (11) started making NBA 3-pointers, hitting seven 3-pointers during the stretch.
“I didn't draw up some of those NBA threes,” St. Francis coach Rob Krimmel said. “We just challenged some of our perimeter players.
“We knew this was going to be a dogfight. ... We dug ourselves too big of a hole. I was proud of the way we played in the second half.”
Toole said he didn't think his team's experience in big games played a role down the stretch.
“When Lucky made the three and Jeremiah hit the three, everything was good,” he said. “We panicked offensively during a period in the second half.”
Jones said three days of terrible practices led to the poor performance.
“We went through the motions at times,” Jones said. “We took things for granted, and they played with confidence.”
Anderson, the NEC Player of the Week, scored 24 points, and Worthem had 12.
St. Francis freshman Malik Harmon had a career-high 21 points, including 17 in the first half.
The Colonials led 38-26 at halftime thanks to 17 points from Anderson.
Brown, the Red Flash's leading scorer, didn't score until there was 3:02 left in the first half. He finished with 11 points.