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Newcomer boosts Robert Morris in victory

| Sunday, Dec. 18, 2011

Mike McFadden had been waiting more than a year to wear a Robert Morris uniform.

The wait ended Saturday night, and he made an immediate impact.

McFadden, a forward who transferred from Iona, scored 13 points and had six rebounds to help Robert Morris rally to a 72-64 victory against Louisiana-Lafayette at Sewall Center. The last time he played a college game was in March 2010.

"I thought it went good," he said. "I was looking forward to starting since Lijah (Thompson) was out with an injury. I was looking for that role to take."

But it was point guard Velton Jones who willed Robert Morris (8-3) to victory. Jones, who had three fouls in the first half and sat out the first five minutes of the second, scored 15 of his team-high 16 points in the final 15 minutes. His free throw with 6:26 left gave the Colonials the lead for good at 55-54.

"Velton's will is part of what makes him great," coach Andy Toole said. "He knows one way to play — aggressive."

Toole couldn't have been happier with the performance of McFadden, whose toughness will make the Colonials a better team. He only had one blocked shot and one steal, but he forced numerous turnovers.

"Mike was pretty good," Toole said. "He gave us what we were hoping. He did a lot of good things and some things that we can correct."

Louisiana-Lafayette (5-8) of the Sun Belt Conference grabbed a 36-29 lead at halftime by connecting on 6 of 11 attempts from beyond the 3-point line and coming away with eight steals, three of which turned into easy dunks. Bryant Mbamalu, making his seventh start, scored 12 of his team-high 17 points in the first half.

But the Colonials played better defense in the second half, forcing the Ragin' Cajuns to rush shots and drive to the basket. They finished with 19 turnovers; they shot 56 percent in the first half but only 35 in the second half.

Lucky Jones also provided a spark for Robert Morris, coming off the bench to score 12 points. Coron Williams had 10.

Thompson did not play because of a foot injury, and freshman Brandon Herman (knee) did not dress.

"I was planning to start Mike, but I didn't think (freshman Keith Armstrong) was ready to handle their big men to start the game," Toole said. "Mike gave us something to build on."

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