Robert Morris hands Monmouth eighth consecutive loss

Nick Buzzelli, Staff Writer

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The Robert Morris men’s basketball team extended their winning streak against the Monmouth Hawks to five consecutive games with a 69-51 victory Saturday night at the Charles L. Sewell Center in front of 1,344 fans.

Freshman Lucious “Lucky” Jones led RMU with 17 points, including a six of six performance from the charity strike, while Velton Jones tallied 13 points for the Colonials. With the win, Robert Morris improved to 6-2 on the year, the best start in program history, including a 2-0 record in the Northeast Conference.

The Colonials received a season-high 37 points from its bench en route to the win over the Hawks.

Keith Armstrong had his first break-out game of the season, contributing 11 points off the bench and adding two offensive boards during his 15 minutes of playing time, but the first year forward was unable to come down with a defensive rebound.

“I just have to keep being consistent and sustain effort. We have big games ahead of us so I have to keep it up,” explained the native of Raleigh, North Carolina. “I should have got a few defensive rebounds however and I didn’t, which bothered me.”

Head coach Andy Toole was excited the way both Armstrong and Jones impacted the game.

“It’s great that Keith was able to go 5 for 5 [from the field]. I was happy the way he finished lay-ups,” explained coach Toole of the freshman’s performance. “He was ready for passes and able to convert them, where maybe a week ago those shots were getting blocked.”

The Colonials began the game on a 25-6 run ten minutes into the contest and ended the first half with an 18 point lead when Anthony Myers rebounded Russell Johnson’s missed three pointer and tipped it in as time expired.

Although RMU held a huge lead heading into the second half, its scoring slowed a bit in the final 20 minutes, and Monmouth was able to claw its way back into the game but by that time, it was too little too late.

“We built a lead and kind of coasted and its disappointing because we tried to get that message across after Thursday’s game,” stated Toole of the Colonials’ 12 point victory against Fairleigh Dickinson on December 1. “Repeating the same mistakes aren’t a good idea.”

Robert Morris would continue to add to its lead throughout the second half. With less than two minutes remaining in the game, guard Velton Jones chased a loose ball out of bounds, leaped over the visitor’s bench and landed awkwardly in the bleachers while trying to retain possession for RMU, despite being ahead by 16.

He twisted his knee on the landing and the Robert Morris team leader had to be helped off the court by teammates.

“It’s a scary feeling to see someone go over the bleachers just to try and save a ball, it’s called hustling,” commented Lucky Jones on his teammate’s injury. “I’m just glad that he’s doing okay.”

According to Monmouth head coach King Rice, despite the fact that the Hawks dropped to 0-8 this season with the loss, there will be some competitive matches against these two teams in the future. “There’s some great teams and some great coaches in this league and there’s going to be some fun games between Robert Morris and Monmouth in the next few years.”

RMU opened NEC play on a two game winning streak and then continues its non-conference schedule until resuming Northeast Conference matches in January.

Lucky Jones added, “There’s a lot of good teams in our league and we need to play hard for 40 minutes every game so we can be ready mentally and physically. We need to come into practice each and everyday and accomplish what we need to.”

The Colonials hits the road on December 6 to face-off against T.J. McConnell and the cross-town rival Duquesne Dukes before returning home to host Cleveland State two days later.

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