|Robert Morris Returns Home to Host Pioneers|
Sacred Heart (5-10 / 3-1 NEC) vs. Robert Morris (10-7 / 2-2 NEC)
Thursday, January 17, 2013 • 7:00 p.m.
Charles L. Sewall Center (3,056) • Moon Township, Pa.
Radio: WPIT-AM 730
Talent: Chris Shovlin (play-by-play) & Jim Elias (color)
Audio and Video available at RMUColonials.com
Follow RMU Men's Basketball on Twitter: @RMUMBasketball
Top Story - The Robert Morris University men's basketball team returns home to the Charles L. Sewall Center looking to extend its winning streak to three Thursday with a 7:00 p.m. tip against Sacred Heart in Northeast Conference action. The Colonials are coming off a 70-55 victory @ Monmouth (1/12/13), which wrapped up a road sweep of RMU's Garden State rivals. Against the Hawks, sophomore forward Lucky Jones came off the bench to lead Robert Morris by tying a career high with 18 points while grabbing eight rebounds. Redshirt junior guard Coron Williams added 14 points and six boards, while junior forward Mike McFadden contributed 12 points and seven caroms. RMU held the Hawks to a shooting percentage of 35.7 percent (20-for-56), the lowest field goal percentage by an opponent on the 2012-13 campaign. The Colonials close out their two-game homestand after hosting Sacred Heart with a 7:00 p.m. tip against Quinnipiac Saturday, Jan. 19.
Quick Stat of the Night - Forward Russell Johnson is in the midst of playing his best basketball of the 2012-13 campaign, as the redshirt senior enters Thursday's game against Sacred Heart coming off one of the most complete performances of his career. In a 70-55 victory @ Monmouth (1/12/13), Johnson contributed seven points and tied a season high with 10 rebounds while also establishing a career high with six assists and recording four steals. Inserted into the starting lineup the last three games for the first time since earlier this season, Johnson has supplied the Colonials with averages of 8.0 points, 9.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.0 steals per game over that span while shooting 47.1 percent (8-for-17) from the field and 71.4 percent (5-for-7) at the free-throw line. Johnson enters RMU's current two-game homestand 36 points shy of becoming the 21st player in school history to eclipse 1,000 career points.
Thursday's Opponent and The All-Time Series - Robert Morris and Sacred Heart tip for the 23rd time Thursday night at the Charles L. Sewall Center, with the Colonials holding a 14-8 (.636) edge in the all-time series. RMU swept the 2011-12 season series, earning a 70-67 victory over the Pioneers at the Sewall Center (1/14/12), followed by a 55-53 win at the William H. Pitt Center (2/23/12) in Fairfield, Conn. In the sweep, guard Velton Jones averaged 18.0 points, 4.5 assists and 4.0 steals per contest. Off the bench in RMU's win at the Sewall Center last season, Jones supplied 18 points, five assists and three steals, then followed with 16 points, four dimes and five thefts in the victory at the Pitt Center. Jones gave the Colonials their road win last year over the Pioneers by burying a three-pointer with 0.1 seconds left to garner the victory.
Good Luck Charm - Sophomore forward Lucky Jones responded to a one-game suspension due to a violation of team rules by pacing the Colonials off the bench in a 70-55 victory @ Monmouth (1/12/13) with 18 points and eight rebounds. Jones tied a career high in points, a mark he originally established earlier this season when he led Robert Morris with 18 points @ Savannah State (11/26/12). Jones will look to build on his performance against the Hawks, as he enters Thursday's tilt against Sacred Heart averaging 12.5 points versus NEC foes while shooting 52.2 percent (12-for-23) from the field.
Chicks Dig The Long Ball - The three-pointer and Robert Morris has become synonymous over the last decade and-a-half, and the Colonials are continuing in that vain in 2012-13. Over the last 10 games, RMU has averaged 10.2 three-point field goals per contest while shooting 40.5 percent (102-for-252) from beyond the arc. The recent surge has the Colonials tops in the Northeast Conference in three-point field goals per game (8.41) while ranking third in three-point field goal percentage (.360). Under third-year head coach Andrew Toole, Robert Morris owns a record of 15-2 (.882) when converting at least 10 three-pointers a contest, including a 5-1 (.833) mark in 2012-13. Over the last 10 years, Robert Morris is also tops in the NEC in three-point field goals per game, averaging 7.14 per contest.
In The Zone - Arguably the hottest Colonial in recent weeks, especially from beyond the arc, has been Coron Williams. The redshirt junior guard enters Thursday's game having averaged 12.4 points over RMU's last 10 games, converting an even 50 percent (42-for-84) of his shots from the field, including 53.3 percent (32-for-60) of his attempts from deep. RMU's active leader in three-point field goals, Williams owns 182 career three-pointers and is 18 shy of becoming the seventh player in school history with 200 career triples.
Did You Know? RMU's 88-54 victory @ Fairleigh Dickinson (1/10/13) marked the 10th straight win for the Colonials against the Knights, tying a school record for consecutive wins against an NEC foe. Robert Morris also won 10 consecutive games against Wagner from Jan. 14, 1988, to Feb. 3, 1992. The Colonials also enter the 2012-13 season series against in-state rival Saint Francis (Pa.) having won nine straight games over the Red Flash.
The Rock - Guard Velton Jones has been a rock for Robert Morris over the last four seasons, as the redshirt senior is in his final season of eligibility in 2012-13 owning the longest active streak for games played. Jones has played in 121 consecutive contests for RMU dating back to the 2009-10 campaign, the longest streak in school history. Jones established the mark in an 84-55 victory @ Fairleigh Dickinson (1/10/13), eclipsing the old mark of 119 straight games that was held by former Colonial Wade Timmerson (1988-92). Jones also owns 115 career starts, which ranks second all-time at RMU. He trails only former Colonial Jeremy Chappell, who started 120 games from 2005 to 2009.