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Hot-shooting RMU tops St. Vincent in exhibition opener

| Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012, 9:56 p.m.

Before the season began, Robert Morris basketball coach Andrew Toole was excited about his team's depth.

That depth took a hit when 6-foot-7 senior power forward Lijah Thompson sustained a season-ending knee injury in a preseason drill. Sophomore Keith Armstrong, a 6-7 forward, is sidelined with a foot injury.

“This was the first time that we had two guys at every position and that we were comfortable with,” Toole said. “But like usual, as soon as you have a good plan, it gets blown up. Now, we have to go to Plan B.”

Junior college transfer Vaughn Morgan, who graduated from Perry Traditional Academy, got the start in Thursday's 81-67 exhibition victory against NCAA Division III St. Vincent.

And the Pittsburgh native, an athletic 6-foot-6 forward, displayed that ability with three dunks. He finished with 10 points, seven rebounds and three blocked shots.

“I like dunking the ball and blocking shots,” Morgan said. “I was nervous to begin the game, and I made some mistakes. It was the first time my family got to see me play in a couple years.”

Another newcomer who should contribute is 6-9 freshman forward Stephan Hawkins, who had four points and four rebounds.

The third newcomer expected to be an important figure is junior college shooting guard Karvel Anderson, who drilled a couple of 3-pointers and finished with eight points.

“I was a little nervous at first,” Anderson said. “I'm not sure how I would grade myself. I felt I played OK, but I can get better.”

Robert Morris roared to a 54-31 lead at halftime by hitting 11 of 13 3-pointers.

Near the end of the first half, all-conference point guard Velton Jones sustained an injury to his right thigh. He did not play in the second half.

Coron Williams made 5 of 6 3 pointers and finished with 17 points. Anthony Myers-Pate added 12 points, and Mike McFadden had 11.

The Colonials also turned the ball over 14 times and went 18 for 33 from the foul line.

“Our attention to detail had to improve dramatically at both ends of the court to have any type of success,” Toole said.

St. Vincent coach D.P. Harris was pleased with his team's performance.

“We took a huge step forward in the second half,” he said. “Our guys played with a lot of emotion and energy.”

Paul Schofield is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at pschofield@tribweb.com.

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