Missed opportunities, free throws sink Robert Morris against St. Francis Brooklyn
St. Francis Brooklyn didn't come out shooting 3-pointers well against Robert Morris on Saturday at Sewall Center. The Terriers made 3 of their first 11 attempts and found themselves trailing by nine points midway through the first half.
But they kept firing, and soon guards Yunus Hopkinson and Tyreek Jewell found the range.
Hopkinson made six 3-pointers and Jewell two as St. Francis rallied and then held off Robert Morris, 82-72, in a battle for sixth place in the Northeast Conference.
Hopkinson finished with a game-high 24 points, and Jewell added 22 for St. Francis (13-16, 9-7 NEC), which is tied for fifth place with St. Francis (Pa.). The Red Flash lost in overtime Saturday to LIU Brooklyn.
Robert Morris (9-20, 7-9 NEC) had its chances, but inconsistent free-throw shooting and missed layups proved costly. The Colonials finished 16 for 26 from the free-throw line.
“Better free-throw shooting would have definitely (helped),” Robert Morris forward Billy Giles said.
A 14-0 run early in the second half sparked St. Francis, turning a 41-36 deficit into a 50-41 lead. Hopkinson and Jewell hit 3-pointers during the stretch.
In all, St. Francis made 10 of 24 (41.7 percent) from beyond the arc.
Behind Hopkinson and Jewell, the Terriers opened a 68-57 lead with 3 minutes, 55 seconds, but the Colonials made a run to pull within 71-68 on a 3-pointer by Matty McConnell with 2:37 left.
“Lack of urgency cost us,” Colonials senior Rodney Pryor said. “They were shooting 3s, and we didn't respond well enough.
“We were communicating well enough in the second half. We got down on ourselves, and we got away from playing as a unit.”
The Colonials' Kavon Stewart missed three consecutive free throws, and with the score 73-70, Pryor missed a 3-pointer from the top of the key.
“There were some positives from the game,” Robert Morris coach Andy Toole said. “Unfortunately, they got hot from the 3-point line and made some tough ones, and our defense didn't respond as well as it needed to in the second half.
“We did give ourselves a chance to tie or take the lead late. But we were unable to convert.”
Stewart played despite being sick, Toole said.
“He wasn't himself,” Toole said. “He got nausea before the game and tried to play through it.”
St. Francis iced the game at the free-throw line by making 11 straight. The Terriers finished 22 for 26 from the line.
Pryor led Robert Morris with 14 points. Giles had 13, and Isaiah Still, returning from a three-game suspension, added 12.
Robert Morris used a 16-4 run midway through the first half to grab a 25-16 lead. St. Francis responded behind the 3-point shooting of Hopkinson, who hit two of his three 3-pointers late in the half.
Pryor scored 10 points in the first half, and the Colonials had 10 assists.
Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @Schofield_Trib.