Moon Township, Pa. - A 13-0 run over the course of seven minutes in the second half helped the Robert Morris University men's basketball team turn a tight contest into a double-digit advantage en route to an 80-62 win over No. 3 seed Mount St. Mary's Sunday night in the 2010 Northeast Conference Tournament semifinals at the Charles L. Sewall Center.
The Colonials advance to their second straight NEC Tournament championship game and ninth overall thanks to the victory and will square off with No. 1 seed Quinnipiac Wednesday, March 10, at the TD Banknorth Sports Center for a 7:00 p.m. tip that will be broadcast live on ESPN2.
RMU improved to 22-11 overall on the 2009-10 campaign with the victory, while the Mountaineers, who had an 11-game winning streak snapped, finished their season with an overall mark of 16-15.
Raven Barber pulled Mount St. Mary's within three at the 16:35 mark of the second half, 51-48, with a layup, but Robert Morris scored the next 13 points to open up a 64-48 edge with 9:19 remaining.
Freshman guard Karon Abraham (Paterson, N.J. / Harp Academy) started the surge with a three-pointer as five different Colonials scored during the spurt. Senior forward Rob Robinson (Waldorf, Md. / Globe Institute of Technology) scored four points, including a dunk on a feed from Abraham.
"I thought our guys put together one of their most complete efforts of the season on both ends of the court tonight," RMU head coach Mike Rice said. "When we share the ball we're a pretty good team. Our flow on offensive was as good as I've seen it all year, and on defense we kept moving our feet."
The Mount could never trim their deficit under 12 the rest of the contest, with RMU's biggest advantage coming with 57 seconds to play when senior forward Dallas Green (Indianapolis, Indiana / Northwest) hit a three-pointer to give the Colonials an 80-60 lead.
"I thought our guys just ran out of gas tonight," Mount St. Mary's head coach Milan Brown said. "It's tough to swallow when you see that Robert Morris shot 53 percent and scored 80 points, because we hang our hat on defense."
Robert Morris never trailed in the contest, jumping out to a 15-5 lead as Robinson and Green each scored four points in the early going while Abraham and junior guard Gary Wallace (Montclair, N.J. / Seton Hall Prep) each buried three-pointers.
The Mount answered with a 17-7 run to tie the game, 22-22, as Kelly Beidler scored five points and Will Holland hit a three-pointer. Robinson put the Colonials back in front, 24-22, with a layup, but Jeremy Goode tied the game for the second time, 24-24, with a layup of his own with 8:22 to go before halftime.
The Colonials responded by recording a 13-6 run to open up a 37-30 advantage and took that seven-point lead into halftime, 47-40. Wallace scored five points during the spurt, including a three-pointer, while Abraham added four.
Abraham paced Robert Morris for the third straight game with 19 points on 6-of-12 shooting from the field and a perfect 4-for-4 performance from the free-throw line while grabbing three rebounds and dishing out three assists. He was one of four Colonials to score in double figures, as Robinson added 14, Green 11 and redshirt freshman guard Velton Jones (Philadelphia, Pa. / Northeast Catholic) 10.
Goode, in his final collegiate career, capped a stellar career with 20 points on 6-of-11 shooting from the field while dishing out three assists. Shawn Atupem added 12 points for the Mount.
Robert Morris shot 58.3 percent (14-for-24) from the field in the second half and 53.7 percent (29-for-54) overall, while Mount St. Mary's converted just 34.7 percent (17-for-49) of its shots.