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January 16, 2014
RMU survives wild finish against St. Francis
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Karvel Anderson did not go off for 30 points for the third straight game.
But the senior guard still had enough tricks up his sleeve, plus a little bit of help from a few friends, to push Robert Morris to 3-0 in the Northeast Conference.
Anderson and Jeremiah Worthem hit back-to-back 3-pointers and then finished St. Francis (Pa.) off from the line to help Robert Morris rally past the Red Flash and win 73-68.
"This was one of those games that we'd regret for a long time if we lost," Anderson said. "I felt like we pulled that one out of desperation."
Anderson scored 24 points, including 17 as part of an electric first half that saw Robert Morris built a 38-26 lead into the half. But St. Francis wouldn't go away, even with star forward Earl Brown relatively quiet. Malik Harmon and Ben Millaud-Meunier began bombing away from 3-point range, with a few shots from well beyond NBA range, and suddenly the Red Flash couldn't miss.
"We practiced terrible for three days straight," Lucky Jones said. "When you have a team that can shoot 3-pointers as good as them, they're going to stay in the game the whole time."
St. Francis shot 66.7 percent from the field in the second half, including 7-of-13 from 3-point range, and the Red Flash slowly trimmed the deficit. Robert Morris led by as many as 11 points with 11:21 left to go in the game, but that's when St. Francis made its run. The Red Flash embarked on a remarkable 26-4 run to take a 65-54 lead on Dominique Major's 3-pointer with 4:40 left.
"Some of those threes they made in the second half were pretty impressive shots," head coach Andrew Toole said. "And I think what happened was we started to panic offensively, which resulted in poor shots, which resulted in them having an opportunity to extend their lead."
That was enough to wake Robert Morris back. St. Francis scored three points in the final 4:40, getting one free throw from Brown and a lay-up from Ronnie Drinnon.
"One thing Karvel told me walking on the court was, 'We're not going to lose this game at home," Jones said. "I wasn't really into it as much, but he gave me the spark and said you have to shoot the ball."
Jones and Robert Morris found a rhythm on offense after the cold spell had taken the Colonials out of commission. Following a Jones 3-pointer, Robert Morris forced three straight turnovers - one of them a shot clock violation - and scored on each ensuing possession. Jones hit two free throws, Worthem and Anderson hit their 3-pointers and Anthony Myers-Pate hit a 16-foot jumper to give Robert Morris a 67-66 lead with 1:36 left.
"I don't know if it was experience or it was maybe being a little terrified that they were up 10 and now were down 11. Something definitely caught their attention," Toole said. "Unfortunately we're a team that when we make shots, we feel good and we make the necessary effort to win. That's a very, very dangerous way to play the game of basketball. We got away with it tonight, but I'm not sure how many times you can continue to get away with it."
After the two teams traded baskets, St. Francis chose to foul Anderson with 13 seconds left to try to get the ball back. Anderson made both free throws, and the Colonials sent Harmon to the line rather than risk a game-tying 3-pointer. Harmon missed and Worthem iced the game with his free throws.
"I'm proud of the way we were able to come back and win the game," Toole said. "It shows some resolve. I think it's something we can talk about and draw some positive experience from."
Anderson shot 50 percent from the field and had three rebounds, two assists and two steals to go with his 24 points.
"He's a fantastic player. In the first half, every shot he made, he had a hand in his face," St. Francis coach Rob Krimmel said. "Those are things that as a defender you do everything right, and our kids did everything we asked them to do, and he still made shots."
Worthem and Jones each chipped in 12 points and combined for 11 rebounds. Robert Morris is next in action Saturday at Mount St. Mary's.
Officials: Doug Aprahamian, Josh White, Brandon Williams
ColonialsCorner publisher Andrew Chiappazzi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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