Share This Page

Robert Morris beats FDU to open NEC Tournament

| Wednesday, March 5, 2014, 9:42 p.m.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
RMU's Lucky Jones (right) dives for a loose ball in front of Fairleigh Dickinson's Mustafaa Jones in the first half Wednesday, March 5, 2014, at the Sewall Center.

Robert Morris faced another challenge Wednesday in the opening round of the Northeast Conference Tournament.

The Colonials didn't get a point from NEC Player of the Year Karvel Anderson, but found a way to defeat Fairleigh Dickinson, 60-53, at Sewall Center.

Anderson, who missed all three of his shots from the field in the first half, played sparingly in the second half. He didn't touch the floor for the final eight minutes.

Colonials coach Andy Toole said Anderson felt ill during the game and he wasn't effective on the floor.

“We had to put in people that were going to be effective,” Toole said. “I hope Karvel is better. I would be surprised if he wasn't.”

Robert Morris (20-12) instead got a big game from junior Lucky Jones, who scored a game-high 19 points.

Jones hit his first shot of the game, and worked hard to regain his confidence after going 1 for 15 from the floor in a loss to Wagner and struggling with his shooting down the stretch.

“I kind of got my confidence back when we came back from Wagner,” Jones said. “Immediately that night, Chuck (Oliver) and I went into the gym, and we started shooting a lot of shots. I knew coming into the game I had to stay confident. When I didn't think about it, it went in.”

The Colonials advance to the semifinals at 2 p.m. Saturday where they will host sixth-seeded St. Francis (Pa.), which upset Bryant, 55-54.

Senior Anthony Myers-Pate chipped in with 10 points, including 4 for 4 from the foul line in the final 24.3 seconds.

“The theme of this game was war, and we focused and locked in on that,” Myers-Pate said. “We knew they'd come out fighting. They thought they had the game last week and let it slip away.

“We knew they had confidence, but we stuck together as a family and it goes to show that team is more powerful than individuals.”

The Colonials needed a 22-2 run to erase a 15-point deficit in a 69-64 win at Fairleigh Dickinson in the regular season.

Myers-Pate also added he expects a different Anderson on Saturday.

“I have confidence going into the next game that's he's going come out with some fire,” Myers-Pate said. “It's not going to be pretty for our opponent. Even though he did score, he did a lot of other things. Everyone stepped up when they need to.”

The Colonials took the lead for good with 5:47 left in the first half when Jones hit a 3-pointer and a field goal to snap a 15-15 tie. They never trailed, though FDU kept it close.

Robert Morris led 26-24 at halftime and for between six and eight points for much of the second half. The Colonials' largest lead of the game was 54-44 with a minute left on a layup by David Appolon.

“I'm proud of the guys, figuring out away to get enough defensive stops down the stretch,” Toole said. “We knew it would be a hard-fought game.

“We've found a variety of ways to win this year. No two games are going to be the same. As we go through this, everyone has to be ready and prepared when their opportunity comes.”

Sidney Sanders Jr. led Fairleigh Dickinson (10-21) with 16 points, 13 in the second half. Scooter Gillette had 15 points and Mathias Seilund added 12 points and 10 rebounds.

Fairleigh Dickinson was 9 for 27 from the field (33.3 percent) in the first half and finished 20 for 55 (36.4). Robert Morris was 22 for 47 (46.8) from the field.

“Our team got beat by a strong defensive performance effort by Robert Morris,” FDU coach Greg Herenda said. “We did everything except put the ball in the basket. We expected to win. They were in a defensive groove.”

Robert Morris outrebounded Fairleigh Dickinson, 33-30. The Colonials turned the ball over 16 times.

Jones and Appolon each had four assists.

“We played like a team that was afraid to lose,” Toole said. “We have to relax and play the game. We were on edge.”

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.