|Short-Handed Colonials Edge Pioneers, 66-62|
Moon Township, Pa. - The Robert Morris University men's basketball team stretched its winning streak to three games Thursday night with a 66-62 victory over Sacred Heart at the Charles L. Sewall Center.
The Colonials improved to 11-7 overall and 3-2 in the Northeast Conference with the win, while the Pioneers dipped to 5-11 overall and 3-2 in league play.
Playing without its top two scorers, guards Velton Jones (Philadelphia, Pa. / Northeast Catholic) and Karvel Anderson (Elkhart, Ind. / Glen Oaks Community College), due to injury, RMU pulled out the win using a seven-man rotation as four different Colonials established a season high in minutes played.
Sacred Heart jumped out to a 12-7 lead at the 16:48 mark of the first half after a three-pointer from Steve Glowiak, but the Colonials used a 14-3 surge to take a 21-15 advantage.
Sophomore forward Lucky Jones (Newark, N.J. / St. Anthony) started the run with a jumper and scored four points during the spurt, while sophomore guard David Appolon (Philadelphia, Pa. / Imhotep Charter) led the way with five points.
The Colonials held the lead the rest of the half, although the Pioneers closed to within 24-23 after a jumper from De'Aires Tate with 4:18 left before the break. RMU eventually took a 29-26 edge at halftime on the strength of 41.4 percent (12-for-29) shooting in the first half.
Nick Greenbacker opened the second stanza with a pair of layups to push SHU back in front, 30-29, but a 7-2 surge gave the Colonials the lead right back, 36-32. Lucky Jones capped the run with a three-point play after a jumper and foul by Louis Montes of the Pioneers.
The back-and-forth affair continued as the Pioneers took a one-point lead, 37-36, after a three-point play by Tate, but RMU responded with a 13-0 run to open up its first double-digit lead of the contest, 49-37.
Shane Gibson, who scored a game-high 27 points, quickly ended the run with a three-pointer, and after the triple Sacred Heart called timeout.
Glowiak would convert from beyond the arc to pull the Pioneers to within six, 49-43, with 9:04 to play, but RMU was able to keep Sacred Heart at bay for the next five minutes, three times owning a 10-point advantage over that span.
Junior forward Mike McFadden (Newark, N.J. / Technology) gave Robert Morris a 58-48 edge with 4:40 to go thanks to a layup, but the Pioneers didn't go away, making it a one-possession game four times in the final 2:27 of action before the Colonials sealed the win at the charity stripe.
McFadden gave RMU a 62-59 lead with 1:27 remaining with a layup, and Montes tried to knot the game with a three-pointer that was off the mark with just 25 seconds to go.
McFadden and Lucky Jones each scored 15 points to pace RMU, as Jones finished 9-for-9 at the stripe while McFadden added six rebounds. Williams and Johnson each added 10 points for RMU.
In addition to his game-high 27 points, Gibson finished with six rebounds, three assists and three steals for Sacred Heart. Tate was the only other member of the Pioneers to finish in double figures scoring, posting 12 points on a 5-for-7 shooting performance and a 2-for-2 effort at the chalk.
RMU closes out a two-game homestand at the Charles L. Sewall Center Saturday, Jan. 19, with a 7:00 p.m. tip against Quinnipiac.