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November 12, 2013
Anderson leads second half comeback
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Andrew Toole knew that Robert Morris would have some bumps early on, especially as his wave of newcomers gets up to speed with playing Toole's preferred style of defense.
If Robert Morris keeps finding ways to win and keeps getting clutch second half performance from Karvel Anderson, Toole and Robert Morris will be happy to ride out those early season bumps for the payoff down the road.
Anderson scored 16 of his 21 points in the second half as Robert Morris rallied from an 11-point second half deficit to beat Lafayette 90-81.
"He's a great scorer is what he is," Toole said afterward. "Once he sees it go in a couple times, he's pretty good at replicating it."
Robert Morris struggled defensively early in the contest, as the Colonials had no answer early on for Lafayette big man Dan Trist. The forward powered Lafayette in the first half and finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds. His early success opened things up for Lafayette's shooters, and the Leopards can score quickly. Lafayette launched 30 3-pointers, including eight from Bryce Scott. He hit on three of those treys and finished with 25 points, but as the game wore on, Lafayette's prowess from beyond the arc cooled and the Leopards finished just 9-for-30 from beyond the arc.
"We talked about trying to keep them in single digit three-point makes," Toole said. "To hold them to 30 percent from three for the game is pretty good. There were a handful of shots that we would have liked to have contested better, but I thought we did a good job of contesting a majority of their shots."
With Lafayette able to score consistently and Robert Morris struggling to string stops together, the game opened up and became a track meet early on. Robert Morris went into the half with a 40-39 lead, and though Anderson had just five points at the break, his teammates knew they could lean on him in the second half.
"If he's off, I still think he's going to be on," junior David Appolon said. "I've got a lot of confidence in him."
After Lafayette opened up a 59-48 lead with 14 minutes left in the second half, Robert Morris began to close the gap. Five straight points from David Appolon essentially trimmed the lead in half, and slowly ignited a sustained response from the Colonials.
"Our urgency really increased at that point. Just the way we matched up in transition, the way we were following our formula defensively," Toole said. "I think our guys really rallied at that point and said if we're going to win the game, which there was a ton of time left to do that, we've got to concentrate our efforts on the defensive end."
Down 66-59, Desjuan Newton canned back-to-back 3-pointers to make it a one possession game. Then Anderson took over, scoring 15 points in the final 6:34 to push Robert Morris into the lead. His 3-pointer with 4:18 left gave Robert Morris a 75-73 lead, and the Colonials never trailed again.
"We just kept fighting hard. Coach always tells us to go as hard as you can for as long as you can," freshman forward Jeremiah Worthem said. "We kept fighting and kept fighting, got ourselves back in the game and came out with a victory."
Robert Morris got a balanced effort again, as nine different Colonials scored. Lucky Jones had 14 points, while Mike McFadden, Desjuan Newton and David Appolon each had 10 points. Newton also chipped in seven rebounds and three steals, while Appolon ran the point at times with freshman guard Kavon Stewart out.
"He's serving a suspension for a violation of team rules," Toole said. "He's doing everything that we're asking him to do so he can be back as soon as possible."
The Colonials will stay on the road, with the next stop coming Thursday at Eastern Michigan.
Lee Kunkel contributed to this report
Officials: Gary Duda, Michael Berry, Tim Attanasi
ColonialsCorner publisher Andrew Chiappazzi can be reached at email@example.com.
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