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Short-handed Robert Morris beats Hampton

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Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2011

Robert Morris had plenty of excuses as to why it could lose Tuesday's nonconference game against a talented Hampton squad.

The Colonials had two starters sidelined with injuries, and they were having problems containing Hampton big man Bruce David.

But this Robert Morris team isn't going down without a fight. Instead of backing down, the Colonials punched back with a strong second-half performance that made their coach smile.

The undermanned Colonials ran their record to 9-3 with a 64-54 victory over Hampton at the Sewall Center.

The Colonials played without junior forward Lijah Thompson, who is sidelined with a foot injury. Junior forward Russell Johnson played only 11 minutes in the first half before sustaining a broken nose and missing the rest of the game.

"This was a very good win for us," Robert Morris coach Andy Toole said. "Hampton is very talented team. It has size, athleticism and shooters, but our performance gives me hope that when we get healthy and get everyone on the same page, that we can be a good team."

The Colonials led, 31-28, at halftime and were being dominated on the boards. Hampton held a 21-11 edge at the break.

But Toole went against his style and went to a zone. The change worked: The Colonials outrebounded the visitors, 22-14, in the second half.

"That's what won us the game," Toole said. "We had five guys going after the ball."

Junior guard Velton Jones, who led the Colonials with 18 points, said Toole emphasized rebounding before the game and at halftime.

"We had to rebound better in the second half, and we did," Jones said. "We set goals to be 10-3 by the Christmas break. I don't see why we can't be 12-3 before we resume conference action."

Freshman Lucky Jones came off the bench to score 16 points and pull down nine rebounds in Johnson's absence.

In the second half, the Colonials rebounded better, attacked Hampton zone and made layups. Robert Morris also was 9 for 18 from behind the 3-point line, while Hampton was only 4 for 20.

Coron Williams, who was held scoreless in the first half, scored 10 points in the second half. Mike McFadden, playing in his second game after transferring from Iona, scored 11.

The win was important to Williams because his dad (Alexander) attended Hampton, and he wasn't recruited by them.

Bruce, a 6-foot-10, sophomore, led Hampton (4-8) with 16 points and 13 rebounds. Darrion Pellum had 11.

Robert Morris is at Youngstown State on Thursday for the start of a five-game road trip. That trip includes a game at Memphis on Dec. 29 and Ohio University on Jan. 2.




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