Robert Morris dominates Fairleigh Dickinson
Senior Night at Robert Morris couldn't have gone any better.
The Northeast Conference leading Colonials (20-9, 12-4) rolled to a convincing 89-46 rout of Fairleigh Dickinson (7-22, 2-14) on Saturday at Sewall Center.
Senior Velton Jones returned to the lineup after missing two games with a shoulder injury and scored a game-high 20 points. Senior Russell Johnson had a double-double, scoring 10 points and pulling down 11 rebounds.
It also was a big night for senior walk-ons Treadwell Lewis and Shane Sweigart, who got the first college starts of their careers. Lewis scored the first point of the game with a free throw.
“It was amazing,” Lewis said. “It felt good scoring the first point of the game. It wasn't a set play for me, but Russell got me that ball, and I drove to the hoop. It was awesome, and the crowd was amazing.”
Robert Morris trailed 5-1 early, but went on a 9-0 run to grab a 10-5 lead. After FDU closed to within 10-8, Robert Morris ended the half on a 34-17 run for a 44-25 lead.
Robert Morris used a 15-2 run during the second half to push the lead to 47 points (84-37) with 5:52 left. Jones hit three 3-pointers during the stretch. Then, Robert Morris coach Andy Toole let Lewis and Sweigart finish the game to the delight of the large crowd.
“It was Senior Night, and we were trying to do it for them,” Johnson said about Treadwell and Sweigart starting.
“They earned the right to start,” Toole said. “We talked about it a week ago, and I asked Velton and Russell what they thought, and they were unanimous of their support of it. I made my mind up Tuesday because both guys earned it. It wasn't a hard decision. The guys respect them so much, even Lucky (Jones) came up to me and said he didn't need to start. That was a nice gesture.”
Toole said the team handled Senior Night well.
“It was a terrific all-around effort,” Toole said. “We really did a nice job defensively, especially in the second half where in the past we've gotten lackadaisical with our details.”
Toole also was pleased with the unselfishness of the team. Robert Morris had 22 assists on 34 field goals.
“We shared the ball,” he said. “When you have confidence in your teammates and your game that the ball is going to find you, you're going to shoot well.”
The win sets up a big week to close the season for the Colonials: a road trip to Rhode Island and Connecticut with the conference title on the line. Thursday, the Colonials visit Smithfield. R.I. to play Bryant, and Saturday they close the regular season with a game at Central Connecticut State. Bryant is a game behind RMU.
Robert Morris lost at home to both teams to open the conference schedule.
Paul Schofield is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.