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Robert Morris rallies to top Louisiana-Lafayette

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Velton Jones scored 11 points in the final 12 minutes to key a Robert Morris 30-14 run as the Colonials rallied to beat Louisiana-Lafayette 72-64 at the Sewall Center on Saturday night.

The Colonials used a 20-5 run to turn an eight-point deficit into a seven-point lead in the second half of a 74-62 victory over Louisiana-Lafayette Saturday at the Charles L. Sewall Center.

RMU improved to 8-3 overall on the 2011-12 season with the win, while the Ragin' Cajuns dipped to 5-8.

Louisiana grabbed as big as a nine-point lead in the first half and led, 50-42, when Josh Brown scored a layup with 12:26 to play, but the Colonials put together the deciding run behind solid free-throw shooting and inspired play by the Robert Morris frontcourt.

Sophomore forward Mike McFadden (Newark, N.J. / Technology), making his debut in an RMU uniform, scored a fastbreak layup with 11:40 to go that pulled the Colonials within four, 50-46.

Bryant Mbamalu converted a layup that pushed Louisiana's lead to 52-46, but a layup from freshman forward Lucky Jones (Newark, N.J. / St. Anthony) and a three-pointer from redshirt sophomore guard Coron Williams (Midlothian, Va. / Christchurch) knotted the game, 52-52, with 8:40 to play.

Jones would gave the Colonials their first lead since early in the game with a layup off a steal, and after Brown answered for the Ragin' Cajuns with his own bucket in the paint, redshirt junior guard Velton Jones (Philadelphia, Pa. / Northeast Catholic) would hit the back end of a pair of free throws to push Robert Morris back in front, 55-54.

The score remained that way until the 5:04 mark of the second half, when Kadeem Coleby fouled sophomore guard Anthony Myers (Washington, D.C. / Charis Prep) on the way to the basket. The Louisiana bench was assessed a technical foul, with Lucky Jones hitting both ends, while Myers hit his lone opportunity to give Robert Morris a 58-54 advantage.

Redshirt junior forward Russell Johnson (Chester, Pa. / Chester) would cap the deciding run with a layup with 3:51 to go that gave the Colonials a 60-54 lead.

RMU held on in the final minutes despite the Ragin' Cajuns closing to within 63-60 on a pair of free throws from Brown with 2:11 to go, but Johnson's three-pointer with just 1:39 left in regulation helped seal the victory.

Louisiana, which shot 56.5 percent (13-for-23) from the field in the first half, converted just four of its final 19 shots (21.1 percent) from the field in the final 12:26 of regulation.

In the first half, senior forward Lawrence Bridges (Detroit, Mich. / Columbus State Community College) gave Robert Morris an early 12-8 lead with a dunk, but the Ragin' Cajuns used a 17-6 surge to open up a 25-18 advantage with 6:53 left before intermission.

Mbamalu was the main offensive force for Louisiana, scoring 12 of his game-high 17 points in the first half, converting five of his seven shots from the field, including a 2-for-4 performance from long range.

Velton Jones scored 15 of his team-high 16 points in the second half to lead RMU on the strength of a 10-for-13 performance at the free-throw line as one of four Colonials to score in double figures for Robert Morris. McFadden contributed 13 points and six rebounds, Lucky Jones added 12 points and five boards off the bench and Williams finished with 10 points.

Mbamalu was joined in double figures for Louisiana by Brown, who finished with 11 points and six caroms off the bench.

Robert Morris concludes a three-game homestand Tuesday, Dec. 20, with a 7:00 p.m. tip against Hampton at the Sewall Center.

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