It seems like every time Lucky Jones reaches a benchmark in his storied Robert Morris basketball career, the Colonials fall in a close contest.
There was the Central Connecticut State game last February when RMU lost by one despite No. 22 becoming the 22nd player in school history to hit the 1,000 point plateau.
And then there was Friday night.
Midway through the second half in a nationally televised game against Northeast Conference foe St. Francis Brooklyn, the senior corralled a carom off of a missed three point attempt, just like he’s been doing since his arrival in Moon Township in 2011.
But this wasn’t just any ordinary rebound for Jones. This was his 752 board, surpassing Anthony Dickens and Tony Lee for the program lead.
Though once again etching his name in the Robert Morris record books was not important to Jones.
What did matter, however, was the fact that his team suffered the loss.
“In my opinion, I felt as though I don’t need to worry about that because it’s the second time that’s happened to me, where I established something in my career and we obviously lost,” he said. “So it’s a good feeling, but at the end of the day, I really wanted this win more than I wanted the rebounds.”
Playing without Elijah Minnie – who is suspended for a violation of team rules – the Colonials (7-10, 3-2) were unable to contain SFBK’s sharpshooting, falling, 68-63, to the Terriers (10-8, 4-1) at the Charles L. Sewall Center.
“The tougher team won the game tonight. St. Francis Brooklyn was the tougher team over a 40 minute stretch and we stopped defending in the second half and, therefore, we’re not able to get the win,” said fifth year head coach Andy Toole.
Early on, Robert Morris – which fed off of the energy of the 2,349 fans in attendance – shot 58.8 percent and used a 7-0 run during the final three minutes of the first half to head into the locker room up eight.
On the contrary, the Terriers went 8-27 from the floor during the first 20 minutes of play and struggled offensively to get high percentage looks on RMU’s 2-3 zone.
Though for both squads, the second half was the complete opposite of their respective first frames.
During the final period, the Colonials went a dismal 11-36 from the hardwood, unable to capitalize on numerous second chance opportunities, while SFBK shot 66.7 percent during this stretch.
Trailing by four with 29 seconds remaining, Marcquise Reed was able to knock down a 15 foot jump shot to cut the deficit to two and after Tyreek Jewell was fouled on the inbound, RMU had a chance to knot the score at 66 moments later.
On the ensuing possession, the ball was fed to the far corner for a Jones three pointer, but rather than attempting the shot right away, the senior attempted to pump fake the defender to setup an uncontested shot.
However Jones was whistled for an up and down violation, resulting in a turnover, ultimately halting the Colonials’ comeback.
“It’s tough [losing at home on ESPNU] right now just because that’s one of the top teams in the league and this was a statement game,” said Rodney Pryor, who netted 15 tallies. “But we can’t hang our heads too long, we got to get over the loss because we got to pick up and get a win on Sunday.”