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Long-range shooting sparks RMU in Northeast Conference Tournament

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Friday, March 2, 2012

Monmouth coach King Rice waited all game for Robert Morris to cool off Thursday night.

He's still waiting.

Robert Morris' stellar 3-point shooting helped it roll to an 87-68 victory over Monmouth in the opening round of the Northeast Conference Tournament at Sewall Center.

Coron Williams, who was given a couple of days off of practice to rest, made a career-high and NEC Tournament-record eight 3-pointers and finished with a game-high 25 points.

The Colonials (23-9), who will play in the semifinals at noon Sunday at Wagner, made 16 3-pointers tying a school record, set in 2008 against Syracuse in the NIT.

Meanwhile, the Seahawks (12-20) were only 3 for 19 from beyond the arc.

"We weren't going to let (the Colonials') Velton (Jones) beat us by himself," Rice said. "We were hoping they'd cool off, but it was their night. I wish it didn't happen, but you could tell they were shooting with confidence. Coron's shots look perfect coming out of his hands."

Robert Morris coach Andy Toole said he noticed Williams looked fatigued at Quinnipiac. So Toole rested him.

"He fought me," Toole said. "He wanted to practice. Obviously, it worked out because he looked fresh.

"I was impressed how well we shared the ball and how well he defended with energy and urgency."

Robert Morris grabbed a 44-36 halftime lead thanks to Lucky Jones, who scored 13 of his 16 points in the first half.

Velton Jones, who opened the game with two four-point plays, had 12 points and 10 assists.

"When Velton made those, I said I could do better," Williams joked. "Making that first 3-pointer was a big confidence-booster. My teammates did a good job finding me.

"I worked on my shot and went back to the basics. Preparation was the key."

Monmouth, which trailed 11-1, took a short-lived 17-16 lead with 11:33 left in the first half. But a Mike McFadden started an 8-0 run, and the Colonials never looked back.

Anthony Myers added 12 points and four assists for the Colonials.

Robert Morris made 29 of 55 (52.7 percent) from the field.

"We played with them for about 20 minutes, and then, they took over," Rice said. "They went and got it. They had 14 offensive rebounds, and a lot of those came on missed free throws."

The Colonials outscored the Hawks, 22-6, on second-chance points.

"They were way more aggressive than we were," Rice said. "I've learned in one season that the team that is more aggressive in this league comes out on top."

Ed Waite led Monmouth with 14 points, Jesse Steele added 11 and Mike Myers Keitt had 10.




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