Colonials charge past Saint Francis in regular season finale
Jones’ heads up play propels RMU to senior day win
February 28, 2015
When Greg Brown received the basketball at the three point line with six seconds remaining in overtime, Lucky Jones knew the exact play the six-foot-two guard was going to run.
Since Brown isn’t known for his pull-up jump shot, Jones deduced that he was going to drive the lane, looking for an effortless game-tying layup.
So as a result, he assumed his rightful position in front of freshman, creating a blockade between his 210 pound frame and the basket.
And just like that, Brown was whistled for the personal foul.
“In my mind, I knew it was going to be a charge. I had the position, I just took it in the chest and I just fell as soon as I could,” said Jones, whose basketball IQ preserved the win for RMU. “I was fortunate enough to get the charge.”
After the call was made by the officials, Jones gathered around teammates Elijah Minnie and Rodney Pryor in front of the courtside seats, belting out a scream of excitement in chorus with the 2,147 fans packed inside the Charles L. Sewall Center.
For the forward who has battled a concussion and assumed a new role on the floor, this victory was special for him.
“It [senior day] was very emotional, especially with my guys running around, hugging and we all together at that critical moment in the game,” he said. “It was a very special moment so I just embraced it. …”
Jones, playing in his final regular season game in a Robert Morris uniform, ignited his team’s comeback, netting six of the Colonials’ (16-14, 12-6) 14 points in the final frame, en route to a thrilling 71-70 win over Saint Francis University (15-14, 9-9) Saturday afternoon.
“Proud of the way they continued to fight and try to do whatever they could to get back in the game. … Get the game to overtime, down 8-0 in overtime and figure out a way to win it is pretty remarkable,” head coach Andy Toole said. “Our guys were excited in the locker room and I hope maybe it can carry us as we move forward.”
Despite playing sloppy in the first half, RMU came storming back after the break, ultimately taking a three point lead with 1:03 remaining.
However moments later, an Ollie Jackson trey tied the score at 57 and Pryor’s counter from beyond the arc was too strong, inevitably forcing overtime.
The Red Flash used an early 8-0 overtime run to give them the advantage, but the resilient Colonials used five straight tallies by Jones to cut the deficit to one.
And two foul shots by freshman Marcquise Reed 10 seconds later, followed by one from Minnie, set the stage for Brown’s blunder.
Following the turnover, Jones once again trotted to the charity stripe, sinking both free throws to give Robert Morris a four point cushion, thus rendering Earl Brown’s half court buzzer beater on the ensuing possession irrelevant.
“I told our guys that we played hard enough, we played well enough for 45 minutes to win that basketball game,” SFU head coach Rob Krimmel said following the contest. “… [heading into the tournament] everybody’s 0-0, the only difference is some teams are playing at home, some teams are playing on the road and we’re excited about the opportunity that’s ahead of us.”
Just like his coaching counterpart, Toole believes the program is very fortunate to have the opportunity to play in the post-season.
“… Not everyone gets to go to the conference tournament and so every day that we get to get together, whether it’s to watch film, practice, lift weights, workout or play a game, you got to appreciate it and you got to realize that it could be your last,” he said. “There’s a couple teams in our league that their seasons finished today. And so we get to move on and the longer you want to continue to play, the more focus you have to have and the more urgency and intensity you have to have.”