|Robert Morris Returns Home to Host the Mount|
Mount St. Mary's (7-11, 2-5 NEC) vs. RMU (13-7, 5-2 NEC)
Saturday, January 26, 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 in search of its sixth consecutive win Saturday when it hosts Mount St. Mary's for a 7:00 p.m. tip. The Colonials tied a season high with their fifth straight victory in an 84-70 win @ Saint Francis U. (1/24/13) as junior guard Karvel Anderson led four players in double figures scoring with 22 points. Joining Anderson in double figures against the Red Flash were sophomore forward Lucky Jones (16), redshirt senior guard Velton Jones (15) and redshirt senior forward Russell Johnson (12), who helped RMU shoot 55.4 percent (31-for-56) from the field in the victory. During its five-game winning streak, Robert Morris is outscoring its opponents by a margin of +15.8 (79.0 to 63.2) points per contest while shooting 48.7 percent (133-for-273) from the field, including 44.9 percent (48-for-107) from deep. RMU takes to the road for two straight after hosting the Mount Saturday, beginning with a 7:00 p.m. tip @ St. Francis Brooklyn Thursday, Jan. 31.
Quick Stat of the Night - While Andrew Toole has continued with the mantra that defense wins championships, RMU's offense is in the midst of its most prolific stretch under the third-year head coach. During its five-game winning streak, the Colonials have eclipsed 80 points three times, including 87 points in a home win over Quinnipiac (1/17/13) at the Charles L. Sewall Center, followed by 84 points in a road victory @ Saint Francis U. (1/24/13) at DeGol Arena. For Robert Morris, the performances against the Bobcats and Red Flash mark the first time under Toole that the Colonials have eclipsed the 80-point plateau in back-to-back games. The last time RMU turned the trick in three consecutive contests came in February 2008, when the Colonials were in the midst of a 14-game winning streak.
Saturday's Opponent and The All-Time Series - Mount St. Mary's and Robert Morris meet on the hardwood for the 53rd time Saturday, with the Colonials owning a 27-25 (.519) edge in the all-time series. RMU earned a 67-62 victory over the Mount in last year's only meeting between the two programs at Knott Arena (2/4/12) in Emmitsburg, Md., and enters Saturday's tilt having won eight of the last nine meetings. Forward Lucky Jones led the Colonials in the victory last year with 17 points, eight rebounds, three assists and three steals, while guard Anthony Myers-Pate supplied 15 points, four assists and a pair of steals off the bench. The Mount owned a 48-45 advantage with 10:36 to play, but RMU responded with an 11-0 run to take a 56-48 lead. Mount St. Mary's came back to knot the score, 59-59, with 2:47 remaining, but a layup from forward Lijah Thompson off a feed from Myers-Pate with 1:36 gave the Colonials the lead for good, 61-59.
Five Against One - Junior guard Karvel Anderson provided another example of his offensive process in an 84-70 win @ Saint Francis Univ. (1/24/13), and for all intents and purposes decided the game. Anderson scored 19 straight points against the Red Flash in a span of five minutes and 12 seconds in the first half, hitting all seven of his shots from the floor, including 5-for-5 from deep. During that span RMU stretched its lead from 20-13 to 39-20, meaning Anderson provided a 19-7 run on the Red Flash all by himself. Saint Francis U. could never get its deficit into single digits the rest of the contest. Anderson went on to lead the Colonials with 22 points on 8-of-11 shooting from the field, including 5-for-7 from beyond the arc, while finishing 1-for-2 at the free-throw line. He enters Saturday's game tied with redshirt senior guard Velton Jones for team-high honors in scoring at 12.2 points per game.
Answering The Bell - Forward Lucky Jones missed RMU's 84-55 victory @ Fairleigh Dickinson (1/10/13) due to a violation of team rules, but the sophomore has responded since returning to the lineup. Over the last four games, Jones has scored at a 16.8 points per game clip, twice tying a career high with 18 points in wins @ Monmouth and against Quinnipiac. He has also shot 52.6 percent (20-for-38) from the field, including 42.9 percent (6-for-14) from deep, and 77.8 percent (21-for-27) at the free-throw line while grabbing an average of 6.8 rebounds per game. So far this season against Northeast Conference foes, Jones ranks eighth in the circuit in three-point field goal percentage (45 %), 11th in free-throw percentage (75.9%) and 12th in field goal percentage (51%).
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 13 games, a stretch in which RMU is 10-3 (.769), the Colonials have averaged 10.0 three-point field goals per contest while shooting 41.8 percent (130-for-311) from beyond the arc. The recent surge has the Colonials leading the Northeast Conference in three-point field goals per game (8.55) while ranking second in three-point field goal percentage (.375). Under third-year head coach Andrew Toole, Robert Morris owns a record of 17-2 (.895) when converting at least 10 three-pointers in a contest, including a 7-1 (.875) mark in 2012-13.
Dishing It Out - Velton Jones has been RMU's floor general for the last four years, and the proof is in the numbers. Jones enters Saturday's tilt against Mount St. Mary's ranked third in the Northeast Conference in assists (5.37 per game) and fourth in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.17). Just the eighth player in school history to eclipse 400 career assists, Jones is just five dimes shy of becoming the second player in school history with 500 career assists and needs 61 dimes to eclipse the career record of 555 that is held by former point guard Forest Grant (1980-84). He would need to average 5.5 assists per game over RMU's final 11 regular-season contests to eclipse the mark.
Hawkeye - Earning just his second career start in an 84-70 victory @ Saint Francis U. (1/24/13) due to an injury to junior forward Mike McFadden, freshman forward Stephan Hawkins stepped up for Robert Morris. In 22 minutes of action, Hawkins supplied the Colonials with eight points on 4-of-6 shooting from the field while grabbing three rebounds and recording an assist, block and a steal. During RMU's five-game winning streak, Hawkins has produced averages of 6.2 points and 3.8 rebounds while shooting 64.7 percent (11-for-17) from the field and 81.8 percent (9-for-11) at the free-throw line. Included in that stretch was a career-high 12 points in an 84-55 victory @ Fairleigh Dickinson (1/10/13).
Joining The Club - Redshirt senior forward Russell Johnson joined RMU's exclusive club in an 84-70 win @ Saint Francis U. (1/24/13), as his jumper with 2:23 left in the first half allowed him to become the 21st member of the Robert Morris 1,000-point club. Johnson, who ranks 20th all-time in school history with 1,008 career points entering Saturday's tilt against Mount St. Mary's, is also just the 12th player in school annals to eclipse career totals of both 1,000 points and 500 rebounds. Now that Johnson has joined the club, the next Colonial in line is redshirt junior guard Coron Williams, who is 164 points shy of 1,000 for his career.