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Colonials hold off Sacred Heart for 70-67 win

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Robert Morris holds on down the stretch to improve to 4-2 in NEC

The Robert Morris University men's basketball team snapped a two-game slide Saturday night by hanging on for a 70-67 victory over Sacred Heart in a Northeast Conference game at the Charles L. Sewall Center.

The Colonials improved to 13-6 overall and 4-2 in the NEC with the win, while the Pioneers dipped to 8-11 overall and 2-4 in the league.

Leading, 60-50, with just under six and-a-half minutes to play, Sacred Heart used a 14-5 run to close within one, 65-64, with 3:28 remaining. Shane Gibson hit a pair of three-pointers during the surge, while Louis Montes converted a three-point play.

Redshirt junior guard Velton Jones (Philadelphia, Pa. / Northeast Catholic) helped stem the tide by hitting a layup to give RMU a 67-64 edge and during the score was fouled by Montes. Jones missed the chance at three-point play, however, by missing the free-throw.

On Sacred Heart's next possession, Steve Glowiak missed a three-pointer, but Montes came up with the offensive rebound. Montes found a wide open Gibson, who buried his seventh three-pointer of the contest to knot the game, 67-67, and help the Pioneers climb out of a 15-point deficit in the second half.

The score remained tied until under a minute to go, when senior forward Lawrence Bridges (Detroit, Mich. / Columbus State Community College) was fouled by Montes going to the basket. Bridges hit both free throws to give RMU a 69-67 edge.

Montes missed a three-pointer with 18 seconds to play, and Bridges came up with the rebound and was immediately fouled by Chris Evans. Bridges hit the back end of his two free throws to push Robert Morris to a 70-67 lead.

Sacred Heart had a chance to tie, but Gibson missed a jumper, with junior forward Lijah Thompson(Philadelphia, Pa. / Monsignor Bonner) grabbing the rebound before being fouled. Thompson missed both free throws with 3.8 seconds left, and Phil Gaetano's last second half-court heave to try and send the game to overtime was short.

Robert Morris led by seven at halftime, 37-30, and stretched its lead to double digits in the opening minutes of the second half, 46-35, on a three-pointer from redshirt sophomore guard Coron Williams (Midlothian, Va. / Christchurch School).

Back-to-back layups from sophomore forward Mike McFadden (Newark, N.J. / Technology) eventually pushed the Colonials to their biggest advantage of the game, 53-38, with 11:31 to go before seven straight points by Sacred Heart trimmed RMU's lead to 53-45.

The Colonials got their lead back to double digits thanks to converting at the free-throw line, and Jones hit a three-pointer with 6:24 remaining that gave Robert Morris a 60-50 advantage before the late push by Sacred Heart.

Gibson took home game-high honors in scoring for the Pioneers with 29 points. He finished 9-of-19 shooting, including 7-for-11 from long range, and was a perfect 4-for-4 at the free-throw line. Glowiak added 16 points for Sacred Heart.

Williams, coming off a season-low two points Thursday night in RMU's loss to Quinnipiac, paced the Colonials with 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting, including a 4-for-6 performance from long range.

Jones added 18 points, five assists and three steals off the bench for Robert Morris.

The Colonials shot 49 percent (24-for-49) from the field and held a 35-28 edge on the glass, while 12 of Sacred Heart's 20 field goals on the game came from beyond the arc. The Pioneers drilled 50 percent from long range and overall shot 42.6 percent (20-for-47).

Robert Morris returns to the road for a pair of NEC games, beginning with a 7:00 p.m. tip against Fairleigh Dickinson at Stratis Arena in Teaneck, N.J., Thursday, Jan. 19.

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