Providence overpowers RMU, 77-68


Robert Morris rocked the college basketball world by upsetting the Kentucky Wildcats in the opening round of the National Invitation Tournament, and as a result, the Colonials were hoping to do the same against Providence Monday night.

Unfortunately, the Friars had other plans.

LaDontae Henton led all scorers with 22 points, including a perfect 8-8 performance from the charity stripe, while Bryce Cotton added 20 tallies en route to Providence’s (19-14) fourth overall appearance in the NIT quarterfinals.

Karvel Anderson paced Robert Morris (24-11) with 18 tallies, while Russell Johnson and Mike McFadden netted 16 and 14 respectively for an RMU program that falls to 0-3 all-time against the Friars. Senior guard Velton Jones was held to just five points.

“Proud of the effort our guys gave tonight,” RMU head coach Andy Toole said. “Unfortunately, we weren’t able to make enough winning plays down the stretch. I told them how proud of them I was after the game. We never quit, we just weren’t as detailed as we needed to be.”

McFadden, who iced the game against Kentucky by sinking two critical free throws, got the Colonials on the board first after his jump shot rattled in at the 19:12 mark.

RMU then used five straight points by Johnson, a redshirt senior, to pull ahead, 9-2. Just like the Kentucky contest however, the Robert Morris defense slowed after building a lead, which allowed Providence to knot the score at 34 at halftime.

The Colonials have been quite adept to leading or being tied at halftime, holding a 24-0 record when doing so, but couldn’t improve that mark, thanks in large part, to a Friars’ offense that netted 43 points in the final 20 minutes of play.

Although Jones and Johnson are two of the most prolific scorers in the history of the RMU basketball program, it will be their presence off the court that will be the most difficult to replace.

“V and Russell have been incredible,” Toole added. “They’ve fought through ups and downs, and they’ll be sorely missed. They won’t be forgotten”

“What a crazy year we had. Through all the ups and downs we had, we always remained a family,” Jones tweeted after the game. “I wouldn’t trade this year for nothing.”