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Robert Morris

Robert Morris men's basketball team hangs on to beat Lehigh

Paul Schofield
| Thursday, Dec. 17, 2015, 10:36 p.m.
Robert Morris' Elijah Minnie drives to the basket next to Lehigh's Jesse Chuku Thursday Dec. 17, 2015, at Sewall Center.
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media
Robert Morris' Elijah Minnie drives to the basket next to Lehigh's Jesse Chuku Thursday Dec. 17, 2015, at Sewall Center.
Robert Morris' Rodney Pryor drives to the basket against Lehigh's Austin Price on Thursday Dec. 17, 2015, at Sewall Center.
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media
Robert Morris' Rodney Pryor drives to the basket against Lehigh's Austin Price on Thursday Dec. 17, 2015, at Sewall Center.
Robert Morris' Rodney Pryor scores next to Lehigh's Justin Goldsborough Thursday Dec. 17, 2015, at Sewall Center.
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media
Robert Morris' Rodney Pryor scores next to Lehigh's Justin Goldsborough Thursday Dec. 17, 2015, at Sewall Center.
Robert Morris' Rodney Pryor looks to pass while defended by Lehigh's Austin Price Thursday Dec. 17, 2015, at Sewall Center.
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media
Robert Morris' Rodney Pryor looks to pass while defended by Lehigh's Austin Price Thursday Dec. 17, 2015, at Sewall Center.
Robert Morris' Isaiah Still shoots a three-pointer in front of Lehigh coach Brett Reed on Thursday Dec. 17, 2015, at Sewall Center.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Robert Morris' Isaiah Still shoots a three-pointer in front of Lehigh coach Brett Reed on Thursday Dec. 17, 2015, at Sewall Center.
Robert Morris' Kavon Stewart drives to the basket against Lehigh's Austin Price on Thursday Dec. 17, 2015, at Sewall Center.
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media
Robert Morris' Kavon Stewart drives to the basket against Lehigh's Austin Price on Thursday Dec. 17, 2015, at Sewall Center.

Robert Morris junior point guard Kavon Stewart knows he has to be a better leader.

He hasn't been pleased with his play this season, but he has been spending extra time before and after practice to get things turned around for himself and his team.

Stewart came up big Thursday. He hit a baseline floater with 1:08 left, and Robert Morris ended a three-game losing streak with a 69-67 victory over Lehigh at Sewall Center.

Stewart scored 11 points, nine in the first half. He became more of a floor general in the second half, running the offense and handing out four assists.

“I was thinking too much earlier this season, and that shouldn't happen,” Stewart said. “I have to play better. For me, it's all about preparation.”

The Colonials, who will play at city rival Duquesne at 2 p.m. Saturday, improved to 2-9. Lehigh fell to 1-8.

“During our losing streak, we've been looking for small wins from the players,” Robert Morris coach Andy Toole said. “This was the definition of a small win. I think we can take a lot from this game, being able to hang on and being able to get some key stops.”

Robert Morris, which led Lehigh by 10 twice, had trouble putting away the Mountain Hawks. Lehigh was playing without leading scorer Tim Kempton, who has a right foot injury.

The Colonials used an 18-6 run midway through the first half to grab a 26-16 lead. But a few turnovers and ill-advised shots helped Lehigh trim the lead to 36-34 by halftime.

“Everyone who played made some positive plays during the game,” Toole said. “That's something to build on. We just have to treasure the ball more.”

Robert Morris had 15 turnovers but shot 53.1 percent from the field (26 for 49). The Colonials were 9 for 20 from the 3-point line.

After Lehigh tied the score 41-41 early in the second half, the Colonials went on a 19-9 run to take a 60-50 lead with 9:15 left.

Rodney Pryor, who came off the bench to score 20 points, and freshman Matty McConnell, who had 13, hit a couple of clutch shots during the stretch. McConnell was 4 for 8 from the field.

“It was nice to get my shot back,” McConnell said. “Credit goes to my teammates for getting me the ball.”

“It was nice to get a win and protect our home floor,” Pryor said. “We did a lot of things well, and there are still things we need to fix.”

Lehigh wouldn't quit and showed why it was picked to win the Patriot League.

Lehigh's last lead was 10-8. It tied the score 67-67 with 1:24 left on a basket by Austin Price, who led his team with 19 points.

Jesse Chuku and Kahron Ross added 14 points.

The Mountain Hawks committed 18 turnovers, including two in the final minute when they were trying to tie the score or take the lead.

“Lehigh did a good job switching defenses and taking us out of our comfort zone,” Toole said. “We got a few good looks early, then we got a little frenzied. Part of the things we're trying to learn is staying even-keel.”

Now the Colonials can get ready for Duquesne, a team they've beaten five consecutive times.

Paul Schofield is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at pschofield@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Schofield_Trib.

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