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December 4, 2012Tweet Follow @achiappazzi
Robert Morris had every excuse. Jones and Karvel Anderson wouldn't hear it.
Jones fought through the flu to provide 15 points, five rebounds and five steals and Anderson hit two clutch three-pointers in the final 42 seconds as Robert Morris topped Campbell 61-58.
"I'm really proud of our guys. We had tons of adversity. We had tons of crazy lineups out there," coach Andrew Toole said on his post-game radio show. "We had so many excuses we could have had in our back pocket in case we didn't come out on top. I'm just glad guys swung and swung and swung until we were able to make enough plays to come out victorious."
It began ugly for Robert Morris. Just days after Anderson and the Colonials enjoyed one of their better shooting nights against Ohio, they were ice cold from the floor for much of the game. Robert Morris made just 6-of-24 shots in the first half, and a short bench meant that the Colonials had to fight through their struggles on the floor. Myers-Pate missed his second consecutive game with an ankle injury, while Johnson missed the game with a flare-up of the ankle injury he suffered prior to the season, one that cost him three games.
Robert Morris managed to lead 26-21 at the half, thanks to a change in defensive philosophy. Down to eight healthy players - and really seven, since Stephan Hawkins and Vaughn Morgan combined for just 21 minutes - Robert Morris eschewed its traditional aggressive man-to-man defense for a 2-3 zone. The switch flummoxed Campbell enough that the Camels became sloppy, turning the ball over 14 times in the half.
Though the Camels shot 52 percent for the game and out-rebounded Robert Morris 31-21, they ended up with 20 total turnovers and sent RMU to the free throw line 26 times.
"When you shoot 35 percent for the course of the game and your opponent shoots 52, there's got to be some other things that come into play," Toole said.
Robert Morris fought through to lead through portions of the second half. Campbell took the lead back at 56-55 with 1:19 to go, and after Lucky Jones missed a jumper, it appeared the Camels might be in position to force Robert Morris to foul. But Toole told the Colonials to play defense, and Anderson came up with a steal. RMU launched a 3-on-1, and after giving up the ball for Velton Jones, Anderson took a pass, calmly stepped behind the 3-point arc, and drilled a 3-pointer for a 58-56 Robert Morris lead.
Campbell tied it up on a lay-up with 27 seconds left, but it allowed Robert Morris to play for the last shot. Velton Jones worked the clock down before driving to the baseline. His first option was a shot, but seeing nothing open, he kicked it out to Anderson on the wing. Anderson buried it, giving Robert Morris a 61-58 lead.
Campbell tried to organize one last shot, but a 3-pointer rimmed out.
"They were absolutely two enormous shots," Toole said. "But it was a series of plays for 40 minutes that even put in that situation to be able to make those shots."
The game-winner was set up on a play the Colonials had used to moderate success throughout the game.
"We have a number of looks out of it and we have certain places to go if there's baseline penetration," Toole said. ""Karvel was intelligent enough to see the ball and get to the right spot. Lucky was intelligent enough set a little brush screen to give him enough time and space."
And none of it would have gone down if not for a smart play by Jones, who didn't try to force up a shot he didn't have.
"He made a great decision like he made a great decision a number of times throughout the game," Toole said.
Anderson finished with 13 points on just 4-of-10 shooting, while McFadden added 10 points and seven rebounds. Toole was most pleased with the effort and attention to detail despite the adversity.
"When I go back and watch the film, I'm sure there will be some things that I didn't love," Toole said. "But the effort, the heart, and the togetherness that we showed tonight - that's how you have to win on the road. It's never pretty, it's never easy, but you have to just keep grinding and that's what we did tonight."
Officials: Anthony Chiazza, Jonathan Sterling, Jason Page
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