Moon Township, Pa. - The Robert Morris University men's basketball team stretched its winning streak to four games Thursday night and in the process notched its 20th win of the 2011-12 campaign with a 69-40 victory over Bryant at the Charles L. Sewall Center.
The Colonials improved to 20-8 overall and 11-4 in the Northeast Conference, marking the fourth time in the last five seasons and seventh time overall RMU has eclipsed the 20-win plateau. Bryant dropped its 12th consecutive game in falling to 2-25 overall and 1-14 in conference play.
Robert Morris opened up a 7-2 lead to start the game before an 8-3 surge by the Bulldogs tied the score, 10-10, at the 11:54 mark of the first half.
The Colonials responded with a 14-4 run to take their first double-digit advantage of the contest, 24-14, with 4:05 left in the first half.
Redshirt junior guardVelton Jones (Philadelphia, Pa. / Northeast Catholic) started the spurt with a layup as six different players scored, including five points from junior center Lijah Thompson (Philadelphia, Pa. / Monsignor Bonner).
RMU eventually entered halftime with a 31-19 edge as Jones scored the final five points of the stanza, including a three-pointer with 38 seconds left before intermission.
The Colonials scored the first nine points of the second half to open up a 40-19 advantage. Bryant missed its first seven shots from the field after halftime and didn't convert its first shot from the field until Raphael Jordan connected for a three-pointer with 14:19 to play.
The trifecta by Jordan helped Bryant trim its deficit to 41-25, but an 8-0 run helped push RMU's lead to 49-25. Jones scored six consecutive points for the Colonials from the charity stripe, including four after a pair of technicals suffered by the bench of the Bulldogs.
RMU's biggest lead came with 2:23 to play, when freshman guardDavid Appolon (Philadelphia, Pa. / Imhotep Charter) hit a jumper in the paint open up a 69-35 edge.
Jones paced the Colonials with 19 points on the strength of a 9-for-11 performance at the free-throw line. His nine free throws against the Bulldogs pushed his season total to 160, establishing a new single-season record in the category.
The old record of 151 was originally established by former Colonial Gabe Jackson (1992-95) in 1994-95.
Thompson added 13 points and a game-high seven rebounds off the bench, finishing 4-for-4 shooting from the field and hitting all five of his attempts at the stripe, while senior forward Lawrence Bridges (Detroit, Mich. / Columbus State Community College) contributed 10 points and six rebounds for Robert Morris.
The Bulldogs were led by Frankie Dobbs, who finished with 11 points, two assists and three steals. Alex Francis contributed 10 points and six rebounds but suffered six turnovers of Bryant's 25 turnovers.
The Colonials held a 42-8 edge in points in the paint and outscored the Bulldogs, 26-7 in points off turnovers and 22-2 in second-chance opportunities.
Robert Morris closes out a three-game homestand Saturday, Feb. 18, with a 7:00 p.m. tip against Central Connecticut State.
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