Robert Morris deals Bryant 12th consecutive loss with 69-40 trouncing

Bill Paterson

Nick Buzzelli, Asst. Sports Editor

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  The Robert Morris men’s basketball team improved to 5-0 all-time against Bryant University on the hardwood and extended its winning streak to four straight games as the Colonials trounced the Bryant Bulldogs by 29 points Thursday night at the Charles L. Sewall Center.

  Three Robert Morris players scored in double figures including Velton Jones, who tallied 19 points and dished out four assists. Lijah Thompson and Lawrence Bridges also contributed 13 and 10 points respectively en route to the Colonials 20th overall and 11th Northeast Conference victory of the 2011-2012 campaign.

  “Obviously I thought it was a very good defensive effort from us tonight, more of what we’re looking for from a defensive standpoint,” stated RMU head coach Andy Toole after his team’s lopsided victory.

   RMU began the contest on a 7-2 run after Anthony Myers drove the length of the floor for a coast to coast layup, but the Bulldogs quickly responded and knotted the score at ten eight minutes in.

  The Colonials regained the lead for good after Velton Jones’s layup rattled in at the halfway mark of the first half. Robert Morris held its biggest advantage right before halftime as Jones, a redshirt guard, knocked down a trey from the wing that gave the Colonials a 12 point edge heading into the locker-room.

  “Earlier in the year we were too uptight, but we just have to come out and have fun in every game,” Jones, a native of Philadelphia explained. “We did a good job of having fun but still doing what we needed to do on the court.”

  Robert Morris began the second half on a 7-1 run and the Colonials defense held BU without a field goal for the first six minutes of the second half.

  Bryant quickly responded  however, by draining two shots from beyond the arc in a span of three minutes, but the comeback was too little too late.

  Because the Colonials held a 30 point lead with less than two minutes remaining, coach Toole opted to give bench players Treadwell Lewis, Shane Swiegart, and Darren Washington some much deserved playing time.

  Lewis, a fan favorite, snagged a defensive rebound in the final minute of play and, on the ensuing possession, shot a runner in the lane that hit the front of the iron and bounced out. Despite not recording a point, Lewis ran out the clock by showing off his ball-handling skills. “We’ve been working on his ball handling, and I thought he did a tremendous job both right handed and left handed at keeping the defense at bay,” the second year skipper said with a laugh.

  Despite being without Lucky Jones, who twisted his knee during Tuesday’s practice, Brandon Herman and David Appolon, also freshman gave the Colonials’ depth at the forward position, playing a combined 34 minutes against Bryant.

  While playing without Lucky Jones forced Robert Morris to switch its defensive style of play, Toole believes that giving other players the opportunity to see game action can help the team’s mentality in the long run. “It’s a great opportunity for Brandon and Dave to get more minutes and learn more about how to be successful at this level because you never know when you’re going to need guys.”

  The Colonials will play its final home game on Saturday versus Central Connecticut State before finishing the regular season on the road against Sacred Heart and Quinnipiac.

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