Colonials survive scare from Monmouth

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Colonials survive scare from Monmouth

Kyle Gorcey

The RMU men's basketball team extended its winning streak against Monmouth to nine straight games courtesy of a 77-65 victory Thursday night.

Nick Buzzelli

Nick Buzzelli, Sports Editor

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The Monmouth University men’s basketball program have dread playing Robert Morris during the past four seasons. In that span, the Colonials have come out victorious against the Hawks eight consecutive times and, despite a late game Monmouth rally, Thursday’s contest wasn’t any different.

Russell Johnson, Lucky Jones, and Karvel Anderson each scored double digit points and the Colonials’ defense held Monmouth to 48.8 percent from the field en route to a 77-65 victory at the Sewall Center.

With the win, Robert Morris clinched a berth in the NEC post-season tournament.

“Obviously I think it was a hard fought win and that’s what you’re going to get at the end of February against a well-coached, competitive team,” said RMU skipper Andy Toole. “They’re fighting for their playoff lives, they’re starting four seniors, they’re going to try to make the game chaotic, and we had to be strong in our decision making.”

Johnson got the ball rolling for the Colonials 35 seconds into the contest, knocking down an open jump shot, and Jones drained three consecutive shots from beyond the arc to give Robert Morris a five point advantage six minutes in.

“Especially the way I shot last year, I would have never thought I would shoot 6-7 [from beyond the arc],” said Jones, who netted 19 points and shot 85.7 percent from the field. “Everyone has their nights, and I was fortunate enough that my point guards and my teammates found me, and I just finished the job.”

David Appolon gave the Colonials a 10 point lead with 4:23 left in the first half, but Monmouth battled back and went into the locker room down, 39-34.

The resilient Hawks wouldn’t go away without a fight however, and kept chipping away at RMU’s lead, eventually coming within one midway through the second half. Robert Morris then used a 7-2 run to cushion its advantage and Anderson drained back-to-back treys to seal the victory for the Colonials.

“My teammates kept telling me to look for a shot all game, and I had two good looking opportunities and they felt good, so I took them,” said Anderson, who tallied 14 points. “I never shy away from the big shot, I always feel like I have confidence in myself to make it.”

Johnson, who netted 20 points and pulled down seven boards against the Hawks, became the third RMU player in program history to surpass the 700 career rebound mark.

“It feels great [to be the 3rd leading rebounder in school history],” said the redshirt senior. “I’ve passed a lot of people that came up and snatched a lot of rebounds, and I’m fortunate to have all of that.”

RMU closes out the regular season by hosting Fairleigh Dickinson on Saturday for senior night, before venturing to Bryant and Central Connecticut State on Feb. 28 and March 2 respectively.

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