Colonials knock off Mount St. Mary’s, 76-68, extend winning streak to six games

By Nick Buzzelli, Sports Editor

Throughout the duration of the 2012-13 season, streaks have defined the Robert Morris University men’s basketball program. Whether it was their three game Northeast Conference skid in late December or their current unbeaten streak, the wins and losses have come in bunches for the Colonials.

Thanks to guard Karvel Anderson’s back-to-back 22 point games, Robert Morris was able to extend its winning ways, notching its sixth consecutive victory Saturday night at the Charles L. Sewall Center. With the win, RMU is currently tied for first place in the NEC.

“I’m very thankful that we were able to hang on and pull the win out. I thought we played an excellent first half defensively as well as offensively, especially against a style and system we hadn’t seen before,” said RMU head coach Andy Toole. “I thought we did some really good things at both ends of the floor in the first half, we just have to become better at doing it for two halves.”

The Mountaineers registered the first point of the contest after center Taylor Danaher sank 1-2 free throw attempts. That ended up being MSMU’s first and only lead of the night as RMU went on a tear, using a 15-4 run to take a 14 point advantage midway through the first half.

Mount St. Mary’s would come within seven with 4:05 left in the opening 20 minutes of play, but Robert Morris, whose bench provided 15 first half tallies, took a 33-22 lead into the locker room.

RMU was ahead by as many as 18 at the 11:54 mark of the second half, but the Mountaineers were relentless, and kept chipping away at the Colonials’ lead.

With 3:54 remaining in the contest, Lucky Jones dove for a loose ball near the courtside seats, barreling over the 1921 Club donors and into the bleachers. Jones, who had to be helped off the court, injured his knee of the play and did not return.

MSMU eventually came within four with 24 seconds remaining, but the Colonials sank 5-6 attempts from the charity stripe in the game’s final minute to ice the contest.

“Mount St. Mary’s is a very good shooting team and we tried to run them off the three point line and I think we did a good job at that in the first half,” said Velton Jones, who netted nine points against the Mountaineers. “We’re just glad to get out of here with the victory.”

Anderson said that confidence has enabled him to knock down open shots during the team’s winning streak.

“I was just ready when my opportunity came and fortunately I got a lot of opportunities tonight,” said the native of Elkhart, Indiana. “The past two games I’ve been in a groove and I’m finally getting healthy. I’ve been trying to be a little more aggressive, and I’ve gotten a lot of shots up, and I’m very appreciative of how I’ve been playing.”

Velton Jones said that Anderson’s ability to shoot the trey has allowed him to relax during games.

“Him [Karvel] being able to score is just a big weight off of me,” the redshirt senior said. “I’m pretty impressed with how he’s been able to play this whole year.”

The Colonials return to the court January 31 and February 2 for a two game Brooklyn road swing against St. Francis (N.Y.) and Long Island University respectively before returning to the Sewall Center to take on Saint Francis (Pa.) four days later.