|Colonials Survive Wagner, 83-79, in OT Thriller|
Moon Township, Pa. - The Robert Morris University men's basketball team let a 21-point lead slip away but held on for an 83-79 overtime victory over Wagner for its third straight win Saturday night at the Charles L. Sewall Center.
The Colonials, who clinched their eighth straight winning season with the victory, improved to 17-8 overall and 9-3 in the Northeast Conference, while the Seahawks slipped to 13-10 overall and 7-5 in league play.
RMU owned a 40-19 edge at the 2:15 mark of the first half after sophomore forward Lucky Jones (Newark, N.J. / St. Anthony) connected for a three-pointer, and the Colonials eventually entered the break with a 42-27 advantage.
Robert Morris kept its lead in double digits the majority of the second half, including 64-53 with 5:45 remaining in regulation after junior guard Coron Williams (Midlothian, Va. / Christchurch School) connected on a fastbreak layup.
RMU owned a 72-67 advantage with just 1:05 left in regulation after junior guard Karvel Anderson (Elkhart, Ind. / Glen Oaks Community College) connected for a three-pointer, but the Seahawks continued to battle back.
A pair of free throws from Kenneth Ortiz pulled Wagner within 72-69, and a layup from Latif Rivers with just 13 seconds to go in regulation made it 72-71 in favor of the Colonials.
Jones was sent to the line with just 11.3 seconds remaining in regulation and hit the second of his two attempts, and Ortiz came up big for the Seahawks, hitting a floater in the lane with six seconds left to tie the game.
The jumper from Ortiz allowed Wagner to close the second half on a 20-9 run.
RMU had one last chance at the buzzer to end the game, but a three-point attempt from the top of the key from senior forward Russell Johnson (Chester, Pa. / Chester) as time expired was off the mark.
Johnson would open the scoring in overtime with a pair of free throws to push Robert Morris back on top, 75-73, and Jones would convert a layup with 3:29 to go to give the Colonials a 77-73 cushion.
Jonathan Williams answered for Wagner with a three-point play to make it 77-76 in favor of RMU, but Jones kept the edge at three, 79-76, with 2:32 remaining with a pair from the free-throw line.
Ortiz would again convert, as his layup pulled the Seahawks within 79-78. Neither team scored for the next two minutes, and after an Ortiz turnover, Josh Thompson fouled Anderson with 12.3 seconds left. Anderson hit both free throws to give the Colonials an 81-78 lead.
On the ensuing Wagner possession, Anderson fouled Williams, sending him to the free-throw line. Thompson made the first and was going to purposely miss the next, but the Seahawks were called for a lane violation.
Jones would seal the win with a pair of free throws with 3.3 seconds to play after a foul by Thompson.
Ortiz and Rivers tied for game-high honors for Wagner, as each scored 22 points. Rivers scored all of his 22 points in the second half, while Ortiz also added four assists and four steals.
Jones and Johnson each scored 21 points to pace Robert Morris, with Jones adding five rebounds. It marked the second straight game Jones established a new career high in points.
RMU takes to the road for its next two contests, beginning with a 7:00 p.m. tip against Quinnipiac at the TD Bank Sports Center in Hamden, Conn., Thursday, Feb. 16.