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RMU's intensity flags in defeat

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Sunday, Jan. 29, 2012

Robert Morris men's basketball coach Andy Toole wondered that after Thursday's emotional win, if his team could finally put together a successful two-game weekend run.

The answer• No.

Hot shooting St. Francis (N.Y.) made 10 of 17 from beyond the 3-point line and used a strong second half to defeat Robert Morris, 81-68, on Saturday night in a Northeast Conference second-place battle at Sewall Center.

The loss ended the Colonials' four-game winning streak. They made 22 of 68 attempts (32.4 percent) from the floor and were 5 for 25 from beyond the 3-point line.

The loss was disappointing for Toole, who was left wondering why his team can't put together back-to-back strong efforts.

"That's on me as a coach," Toole said. "We were a lot different team on Thursday. Without effort, focus and passion, this is what happens.

"St. Francis played a terrific game. They defended, and they stepped up and made shots. We have to find a way to bring focus and concentration every game. I knew at the shoot-around that it was going to be a tough night."

The Colonials, who were coming off an emotional, 75-66, victory over first-place Long Island on Thursday, couldn't match that intensity against St. Francis.

None of the Robert Morris players were available for interviews after the game.

The Colonials led, 41-35, early in the second half when the visitors went on two runs. The first was a 9-3 spurt to tie the score at 44-all with 11:25 left; the next was a 10-0 stretch to grab a 54-44 lead with 9:10 left.

Sophomore guard Brent Johnson, who finished with a team-high 19 points, handed out four assists and played tight defense on Robert Morris point guard Velton Jones.

"We missed a bunch of layups in the first half," Toole said. "If we make half of them, we're probably up six or seven at halftime.

"St. Francis did a great job staying in front of Velton when he got in the lane, and when we built the lead in the second half, we did a good job getting the ball to players in good position to score. Then we quit doing what was successful."

Travis Nichols came off the bench to chip in 16 points for St. Francis, and Jalen Cannon had 13.

Velton Jones led the Colonials with 21 points, and Coron Williams added 15. The Colonials had 20 offensive rebounds but only produced 12 second-chance points.

"We weren't a good layup-making team," Toole said. "When you drive to the basket, we have to look to score it and we didn't. We need to find a way to play for 80 minutes a week, not 40, 50 or whatever we're doing."




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