Robert Morris sinks the Pirates 64-54

Nick Buzzelli, Staff Writer

  The Robert Morris University men’s basketball team concluded its three game home stand with two consecutive wins as the Colonials sank the Hampton Pirates 64-54 on Tuesday night at the Charles L. Sewall Center.

  Red shirt junior guard Velton Jones led the RMU with 24 points, while freshman Lucky Jones added 16 tallies and nine rebounds for a Robert Morris team that improves to 9-3 on the season.   

  In only his second game as a Colonial, sophomore forward Mike McFadden contributed eleven points, including a 5 for 8 performance at the charity strike. With the ten point loss, HU falls to 4-8 and suffers its fourth straight loss during the 2011-2012 campaign.

  “Hampton is a talented team and a lot of things they do caused us a lot of issues,“ stated head coach Andy Toole. “We did a really good job of executing our game plan and changing it on the fly and I was really pleased with our team tonight.”

  The Pirates led RMU by two points three and a half minutes into the contest, but Russell Johnson connected with a three pointer from the wing to give the Colonials a 6-5 advantage.

  Shortly after his three however, Johnson was elbowed in the face and suffered a broken nose while battling for a rebound 13 minutes in. 

  “When Russ [Johnson] went down we thought he would be able to come back but he didn’t,” Velton Jones said about being without the native of Chester, Pennsylvania for the remainder of the contest, “After that, we just came together as a team and stuck together.”         

  Although the Colonials were without Lijah Thompson and Johnson for most of the night, Toole believes that if his team can pull off wins without key players in the lineup, then they can be successful during the stretch of the season. “It gives me hope that eventually, if we can ever get everyone healthy and on the same page, we can be a really good team.”

  Robert Morris extended its lead to three at halftime, but because of a few adjustments made in the locker room, the Colonials were able to pull away early in the second half en route to its fifth home victory on the year.

  RMU exploited the Hampton defense in the final 20 minutes of play, scoring 33 of its 64 points and out rebounding HU 22-14 in the second half. “We went to our zone offense just to get movement and keep them on their heels,” guard Coron Williams explained of his team’s second half strategy. “I think that really worked because our guards were getting in the lane and attacking.”

  Robert Morris finishes its non-conference schedule with a five game road trip against Youngstown State, Memphis, and Ohio University before continuing Northeast Conference play. The Colonials return home on January 12 to take on Quinnipiac.