Robert Morris holds off Mount St. Mary's
When your top two scorers are held to 19 points below their average, there is a good chance you're not going to win many basketball games.
But that's not the case this year at Robert Morris. With the Colonials down to eight players because of defections and suspensions, they keep finding scoring options.
Chuck Oliver came off the bench to score a career-high 19 points, and Robert Morris (15-11, 11-1 NEC) held on to defeat Northeast Conference rival Mount St. Mary's, 69-61, on Saturday at Sewall Center.
Mount St. Mary's defense held leading scorer Karvel Anderson to eight points and second-leading scorer Lucky Jones to six, but it could not stop Oliver.
The junior guard was 7 for 8 from the field, including 3 for 3 from beyond the 3-point line to lead the Colonials. Anderson and Jones were a combined 5 for 20 from the field.
“You never know who's going to be needed to step up,” Robert Morris coach Andy Toole said. “If you would have said you were going to win the game by eight and our three double-digit scorers would be Hawk (Stephan Hawkins), Ant Myers (Anthony Myers-Pate) and Chuck, I'm not sure you guys would believe that. But we have confidence in our guys that if we execute and play together, we have a lot of guys who can make shots.”
Myers-Pate had 11 points, and Hawkins added 10.
Robert Morris used an 11-0 run in the first half and held Mount St. Mary's (10-14-6-5) scoreless for more than six minutes to open up a 22-13 lead. The Colonials led 31-26 at halftime.
“Before the game, Coach (Michael) Byrnes said I was going to have an impact on the game,” Oliver said. “They were going to deny Lucky and Karvel and they basically weren't going to respect me, so I had to make them pay for that, which I did.”
Anderson, Jones, Myers-Pate, Hawkins and Oliver hit big shots in the second half.
“We did a great job staying together, defending the 3-point line and kind of working through some offensive struggles,” Toole said. “When we needed to find some baskets and needed to execute, guys stepped up and made a big play.”
Robert Morris pushed the lead to 54-43 with 4:52 left, but Mount St. Mary's Rashad Whack, who had a game-high 27 points, hit two 3-pointers to close the gap.
After a Whack 3-pointer and a steal and layup by Julian Norfleet, the Colonials lead was 62-58 with 1:37 left.
But a layup by Jones and a steal and layup by David Appolon pushed the lead to 66-58 and sealed the win.
“They have five shooters who can shoot it very well,” Anderson said. “I felt we did a good job contesting their 3-point shots. They didn't shoot very well from the 3, and that's how they win games.”
Mount St. Mary's was 7 for 27 (25.9 percent) from 3-point range. It averages 9.6 3-pointers per game and shoots 37.2 percent. Robert Morris outrebounded Mount St. Mary's, 40-28. The Colonials outscored the Mountaineers, 40-16, in the paint.