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Monday July 28 2014
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Jones late jumper lifts Robert Morris over LIU-Brooklyn

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Velton Jones hit a 15-footer with 10 seconds left to give Robert Morris the lead and the Colonials added a pair of late free throws to ice a 60-57 victory at LIU Brooklyn on Saturday.

Robert Morris (15-8, 7-3 NEC) hit 10 team 3-pointers in the win and were led by Karvel Anderson’s 13 points and 11 points and 9 rebounds from Lucky Jones.

In a rematch of last season’s NEC title game, the teams battled through a tight first half that saw seven ties, 10 lead changes and neither team maintain more than a 4-point lead. The Colonials led 32-29 as they went to the locker room.

The Colonials had great success shooting beyond the 3-point line, hitting 5 of their 9 shots from long-range, including two each from Anderson and Lucky Jones. The RMU bench was very effective as well,  outscoring the Blackbirds 15 – 2. 

With 5:03 left in the first half, RMU’s Velton Jones  tied the game up at 25 and in the process became the 9th player in NEC history and the first in RMU history to have 1,000 points and 500 assists in career.

The opening half saw a few more milestones as LIU’s Jamal Olasawhere—who finished the day with 18 points, 12 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals—moved into sixth place all time in LIU Brooklyn scoring. Senior guard C.J. Gardner scored the 1,000th point of his career, and guard Jason Brickman tied the Blackbirds record for career assists with 610 with 1:03 remaining in the half.

The second half opened with an 11-4 RMU run, but LIU stormed back and at the end of the first media timeout, the Colonials held onto a 40-37 lead. A 3-pointer by Lucky Jones with 14:20 remaining gave the Colonials 43-39 lead and forced the Blackbirds to call a timeout.  The lead eventually grew to 8, which was their biggest lead of the day

LIU’s Brickman tied the game at 53 with two clutch free throws with 4:10 left in the game. He hit two more with 3:01 left to give the Blackbirds their first lead of the half at 55-53.

On the ensuing possession, Anderson hit a 3-pointer and the Colonials were up 56-53. Olasawhere answered, though, with a layup and the Blackbirds regained a two-point lead with 1:59 remaining.

The Colonial got the ball back, trailing 57-56, with 34.6 seconds remaining and failed to score. A turnover off of a loose ball gave RMU a second opportunity with 16 seconds left. This time, Jones hit a teardrop with just under on the clock and gave the Colonials a late 57-56 lead. The Blackbirds raced up the court, missed a shot and were forced to foul. Anderson hit both free throws, giving the Colonials a 60-57 lead with 2.5 seconds left.  Olasewere got a good look on the wing on the final shot of the game, but it bounced off the rim as the clock expired.

Brickman led LIU with 19 points to go along with 4 assists and 3 rebounds.

The loss snapped the Blackbirds 6 game winning streak.

RMU hosts 1 – 19 Saint Francis (PA) on Wednesday.

I was in a minor league press box in Charlotte, NC, last month, taking in one of Gregory Polanco’s final triple-A games. A colleague, upon learning I was from Pittsburgh, approached me with a question.
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