Anderson's big second half paces RMU in opener
Karvel Anderson was having one of those quiet games.
But midway through the second half, the Robert Morris slick-shooting senior guard came alive.
With his team clinging to a five-point lead, Anderson scored the Colonials' next 10 points in 1:37 span to help Robert Morris pull away for an 86-66 victory against Savannah State on Saturday at Sewall Center.
Anderson scored 18 of his game-high 21 points in the second half and finished with five 3-pointers.
“I was a little tentative in the first half,” Anderson said. “But I feel when you get into a zone, the rim looks like the ocean. My teammates kept getting me the ball.”
Senior center Mike McFadden had 12 points and nine rebounds, and junior transfer guard Charles Oliver each had 12.
Robert Morris improved to 20-18 in season openers and is 3-0 under coach Andy Toole in home openers. Savannah State (0-2) opened its season Friday with a loss at Pitt.
“It was a very good performance from all the guys,” Toole said. “Everyone who played contributed. I felt we were very unselfish offensively as well defensively.”
The Colonials led only 34-31 at halftime but outscored the visitors 52-35 in the second half, and Anderson was the reason.
With Robert Morris up 47-45 with 13:36 left, Anderson led a 14-6 run to open a 61-51 lead.
“He hadn't been shooting the 3 well in practice. He was shooting more mid-range jumpers,” Toole said. “He started to hesitate after he missed a couple shots, so I grabbed him and told him to shoot the ball and be aggressive.
“He has to be hunting shots, and when he saw the ball go in the basket, he became more aggressive.”
When Anderson was struggling in the first half, two transfers stepped up. Oliver and Desjuan Newton each hit two 3-pointers to help keep Robert Morris in the lead.
The Colonials were 11 for 21 from beyond the arc.
“Coach told me to be shot-ready,” Oliver said. “That's my role. I'm comfortable coming off the bench.”
Oliver transferred from Lakeland Community College where he averaged 19.3 points per game. He also spent a year at Rider.
There were a lot of things that made Toole happy. The Colonials only had nine turnovers and recorded 15 assists, and they held a 46-36 edge in rebounding.
“This was better than I anticipated because it's so new to a lot of players,” Toole said. “Mike (McFadden) played solid and was pretty active.”
Joshua Montgomery led Savannah State with 14 points, Keierre Richards added 12 and Alante Fenner 10.