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January 19, 2013
Healthy RMU pulls away from Quinnipiac
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There are some games where the final statistics don't match the overall performance.
Saturday night's 87-75 win for Robert Morris over Quinnipiac was just one of those nights.
Robert Morris forced 10 steals, part of Quinnipiac's 17 total turnovers, but allowed the Bobcats to shoot 56.3 percent from the floor. It was a defensive performance that left Andrew Toole caught between being pleased with the effort and looking for a better gauge of how well his team is doing locking down the opposition.
"I have to figure it out, because these last two games I thought we defended pretty well and we've given up 47 percent and 56 percent," Toole said. "We might have to turn to points per possession. That might have to be my new stat."
"I'm going to keep telling them that we need to continue to get stops, that the shooting percentages are too high, and we need to continue to grind out wins," he added. "Because if you look at one-bid leagues, the team that's usually the champion is up there in field goal percentage defense."
Statistically speaking, Robert Morris' final box score was full of individual oddities. Russell Johnson continued his torrid stretch, scoring 22 points to pull within four points of 1,000 for his career. Lucky Jones had his third straight strong game following his benching against Fairleigh Dickinson, The Colonials also got 14 points points and five assists from Velton Jones in his return from a concussion.
Normal enough, to be sure, but a closer look saw 6-foot-8 forward Mike McFadden with two assists to zero rebounds, Johnson with just one board, passive guard Coron Williams with five fouls, and just three points and sharpshooter Karvel Anderson with five assists.
It was all part of an offensive effort that saw Robert Morris take advantage of a lackluster Quinnipiac defense. The Colonials shot 11-of-19 from beyond the arc and 53.1 percent overall.
"They couldn't really come out and guard the hedge and get back to us at the same time," Lucky Jones said. "We just kept using that and we found a weakness where they couldn't guard us both inside and outside."
Toole was pleased to have Anderson and Velton Jones back in the lineup, and each contributed. Anderson drained three 3-pointers in the first half, while Jones had a patented where he scored 10 straight points for Robert Morris in just 1:05.
"Something must have bothered him for a second, because he seemed a little extra charged up for that stretch," Toole said. "Velton sometimes is better when he gets pissed off. All of a sudden he just looked like he wanted to make a lay-up and he did it three times in a row, and he makes a three."
Jones' return wasn't without a hiccup. He collided with Lucky Jones while going for a rebound shortly after his mini-run and stayed down on the court for a stretch. He didn't return for the rest of the half as trainer Jason Daley worked on his neck and shoulders, but he returned and was fine in the second half.
"I landed on my back," Jones said. "My neck was hurting a little bit. That was it."
Even without Jones for a stretch, Robert Morris never looked back. They led 41-29 at the half, and though Quinnipiac matched them point-for-point in a 46 point second half, the Colonials never let the lead drop into single digits.
"We can't let up," Velton Jones said. "I think we let up a little tonight, but we can learn from it."
The Colonials travel to St. Francis (Pa.) to take on the 1-win Red Flash Thursday in a quest to stretch their win streak to five games after an 0-2 start in league play.
"Now the question will be can we maintain it?" Toole said. "Can we continue to stay humble and stay hungry and prepare ourselves each and every day for whoever our next opponent is?"
Officials: Tom Courtney, Jeff Plunkett, Art Jackson
ColonialsCorner publisher Andrew Chiappazzi can be reached at email@example.com.
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