Robert Morris moves into tie for 1st with victory
When Robert Morris opened the Northeast Conference season with two losses, Colonials coach Andy Toole was looking for answers.
Six games later, the Colonials (14-7, 6-2 NEC) have erased that two-game deficit and find themselves in a three-way for first place with Bryant and Sacred Heart following a 76-68 victory against Mount St. Mary's on Saturday at Sewall Center.
The Colonials have answered some of their coach's questions, but they know they still have 10 games left.
“It's the grind of the season,” senior guard Velton Jones said. “We started out bad, but you can't get discouraged. It's a long season. You just have to keep playing and keep practicing.”
Karvel Anderson scored 13 of his game-high 22 points in the first half. The Colonials have won six straight, while Mount St. Mary's (7-12, 2-6) has dropped two consecutive conference games.
Robert Morris shot 50 percent in the first half, but, more important, the defense was back to Toole's standards. Mount St. Mary's turned over the ball 12 times in the first half and shot 28.6 percent.
Mount St. Mary's finished the night shooting 42.6 percent, a marked improvement for a Robert Morris defense that allowed Quinnipiac (.563) and St. Francis (Pa.) (.556) to shoot better than 50 percent in its previous two games.
Toole, while pleased with his team's performance in the first half, was disappointed how it finished. He said that will be addressed at practice Monday.
Robert Morris used runs of 8-0 and 10-0 to open a 24-10 lead with 8:25 left in the first half. It led 33-22 at halftime.
“I tried to be aggressive again offensively,” Anderson said. “They were taking things away for Velton. I was ready when my opportunities came, and I'm always confident I can make a shot.”
When Mike McFadden, who missed Thursday's game with a hip injury, put in his own miss, the Colonials had their largest lead of the game, 54-36, with 11:54 left.
Mount St. Mary's closed to within 72-68 with 24.4 left, but Anderson and Russell Johnson each hit free throws to preserve the win.
Johnson chipped in with 14 points.
“Karvel played terrific,” Toole said. “He shot them out of their 1-3-1 zone in the first half and forced them to play man. It's impressive when he gets it rolling.”
Jones, who fouled out, finished with nine points and seven assists.
Julian Norfleet and Shivaughn Wiggins each scored 21 points for Mount St. Mary's. They combined for 29 points in the second half.
Paul Schofield is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.