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December 18, 2012
Robert Morris wrote a completely different script in each half Tuesday night against Louisiana-Lafayette. And though it took some time and some extra grit, Robert Morris wove the two scripts together to create a solid victory.
The Colonials used a blistering offensive pace in the first half and a lock-down defense in the final ten minutes to defeat Louisiana-Lafayette 66-61 Tuesday night in the Cajundome.
"That was a grind it out, ugly, a lot of adversity type of victory for us," head coach Andrew Toole said on his post-game radio show. "Anytime you go on the road, especially out of your region where you're not necessarily sure what to expect, and you can come out with a victory, I think it's pretty impressive."
What ended as a grinder started out as a fast-paced game that resembled Robert Morris' second half out-burst against Duquesne Saturday night. Robert Morris and Louisiana traded haymakers in the first half, both shooting 44 percent as the Colonials took a 40-34 halftime lead.
The pace slowed in the second half. The Colonials struggled on offense, making just 37 percent of their shots while Louisiana stayed in the upper 40s. With Mike McFadden and Lucky Jones saddled with foul trouble, the Colonials were stuck with guys in unique positions on the court. With 10:31 left in the game, the Ragin' Cajuns had a 52-50 lead and Toole decided to change it up, tossing out his standard man-to-man defense for a 2-3 zone.
"I'm paying homage to Jim Boeheim for his 900th win I guess," Toole quipped. "You know I don't like to go to that zone. I just feel like we're getting attacked. But I thought they were doing such a good job of moving the basketball and getting good looks early in the half."
That changed drastically with the zone. Louisiana-Lafayette scored just nine points in the final 12:40, including a six minute stretch without a field goal.
"I thought it might be a little bit easier for us to try and change the tempo of the game," Toole said. I think it was really effective tonight."
"He really did a good job in that zone of kind of patrolling the middle," Toole said of Morgan, who played significant minutes with McFadden on the bench. "I told him that was one of his best efforts of the year and mainly because he was active."
Karvel Anderson hit the game's biggest shot. With the shot clock winding down and Velton Jones looking for an open target, Anderson worked his way into position and hit a long 3-pointer in traffic to give RMU a 65-59 lead with 48 seconds left.
"I thought Velton did a nice job of not panicking. There's 8-9 seconds on the shot clock, and I was probably panicking more than he was to make sure he knew the shot clock was winding down," Toole said. "But I think he knew exactly what he was doing and found Karvel. When Karvel gets a little bit of space, we know he's extremely dangerous.
With McFadden and Lucky Jones each playing less than 20 minutes, below their average, others had to step in other areas. Morgan had his four steals, while Anderson had six rebounds to go along with his team high 17 points. Coron Williams chipped in 16 points and Velton Jones had 12.
"I think the other guys did a really nice job of rallying around those guys in foul trouble and doing what we needed to do to come out of here with a victory," Toole said.
Robert Morris finishes out its non-conference schedule with an 8:00 p.m. tip against Arkansas. That game will be broadcast on ESPN3.com.
Officials: Keith Kimble, Bruce Bell, Jason Baker
ColonialsCorner publisher Andrew Chiappazzi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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