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Robert Morris drops Northeast opener

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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Bryant's Dyami Starks defends on Robert Morris' Anthony Myers-Pate in the second half at the Swell Center Jan. 3, 2013.
Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013, 9:22 p.m.
 

Bryant pulled its second upset of the season Thursday at Sewall Center.

Fresh off its victory over Lehigh on Dec. 29, Bryant used hot 3-point shooting and survived a late comeback to shock Robert Morris, 84-77, in the Northeast Conference opener for both teams.

It marks the first time Bryant (8-4, 1-0 NEC) has beaten Robert Morris (8-6, 0-1 NEC), which has lost back-to-back games. The Colonials hadn't played since losing at Arkansas, 74-69, on Dec. 22.

Robert Morris looked ragged for the first 30 minutes, especially shooting, and it proved costly.

“Give Bryant a lot of credit. They played a tremendous game, and we played a poor one,” Robert Morris coach Andy Toole said. “Their best players made plays, and our best players didn't get the younger players to believe how important the game was.

“Our scoring report read, ‘Contain (Dyami) Starks and (Alex) Francis.' And we allowed their three top players to beat us.”

The trio of Starks (29 points), Frankie Dobbs (26) and Francis (18) entered the game averaging 45 points. Thursday night, they scored 73 of their team's 84 points.

“We didn't come out with the intensity that we needed,” sophomore guard/forward Lucky Jones said. “They're a different team, and they played harder. I don't believe the two-week layoff was a factor.”

Robert Morris had won the previous five meetings in the series, including twice last year by an average of 30 points.

Bryant, which finished 13 of 25 from beyond the 3-point line, made eight in the first half but held a slim 33-32 lead at halftime.

Starks made seven 3-pointers and Dobbs five 3s.

The visitors pushed the lead to 51-41 with 11:51 left, but the Colonials used a 10-0 run to tie the score.

Karvel Anderson, who injured his shooting hand in practice, didn't score in the first half. He took the bandage off his hand with a little more than 14 minutes to go and finished with 13 points. He scored eight consecutive points during the 10-0 run.

“Our defensive intensity picked up during the run,” junior guard Anthony Myers-Pate said. “But we could sustain it. We weren't consistent.”

Velton Jones led Robert Morris with 24 points, Lucky Jones had 13 and Mike McFadden added 11.

“We're consistently making the same mistakes over and over,” Toole said. “It has to change.”

Robert Morris is 16-16 in NEC openers.

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

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