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Shorthanded RMU beats Sacred Heart

| Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013, 7:50 p.m.
Christopher Horner
Robert Morris' Mike McFadden drives between Sacred Heart's Phil Gaetano (left) and Nick Greenbacker to score during the second half Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013, at Sewall Center in Moon. (Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review)

Robert Morris didn't have its top two scorers for Thursday's Northeast Conference game against Sacred Heart at Sewall Center.

It didn't matter.

A balanced scoring attack, led by Mike McFadden (15 points) and Lucky Jones (15 points), helped the Colonials (11-7, 3-2 NEC) end a two-game home losing streak and defeat Sacred Heart, 66-62.

Russell Johnson and Coron Williams each added 10 points for the Colonials, who forced 21 turnovers.

Senior point guard Velton Jones (head) and junior Karvel Anderson (foot), the team's top scorers, were out with injuries sustained against Monmouth on Saturday.

Robert Morris coach Andy Toole said he isn't sure when they will return.

Also, Vaughn Morgan (Perry Traditional Academy), a reserve forward, left the team for personal reasons last week, leaving the Colonials short-handed on the bench.

Lucky Jones and Anthony Myers-Pate joined McFadden, Johnson and Williams as starters. Freshman Stephan Hawkins and sophomore David Appolon also contributed.

Robert Morris hosts Quinnipiac on Saturday.

“It was a new challenge, and we had a lot of guys who stepped up and contributed in important ways for us,” Toole said. “Obviously, there were plenty of mistakes made, but we were able to grind the win out.”

Robert Morris used a 13-0 run in the second half to erase a 37-36 deficit. Five players scored during the run that saw the Colonials open a 49-37 lead with 9:33 left.

But it was defense against the 3-point shot and late rebounding that led to the win.

“No matter how many players we have or how many players are out, the game plan doesn't change,” Johnson said. “We have to do the things we're taught.”

Williams said he credits Johnson for stepping up the past two games and becoming a leader with Velton Jones sidelined.

“Russell did a great job making sure guys knew their matchup,” Williams said.

Shane Gibson scored a game-high 27 points for Sacred Heart (5-11, 3-2), which got to within 64-62 with 13.3 seconds left. But Lucky Jones, who was 9 for 9 from the foul line, hit two free throws to ice the game.

Sophomore forward Keith Armstrong (foot) dressed for the first time this season but did not play.

Paul Schofield is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at pschofield@tribweb.com.

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