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Colonials survive and advance to NEC finals

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Karvel Anderson had 21 points, all in second half, and Lucky Jones added 18 as Robert Morris overcame a brutal first half to edge St. Francis PA 60-57 and advance to the NEC title game.

Robert Morris opened the second half with a 15-2 run to turn a five-point deficit into an eight-point advantage and held on for a 60-57 victory over No. 6 seed Saint Francis U. Saturday afternoon at the Charles L. Sewall Center in the semifinals of the 2014 Northeast Conference Tournament.

The Colonials improved to 21-12 overall on the 2013-14 campaign thanks to the win and will host No. 4 seed Mount St. Mary's in the 2014 NEC Tournament championship game Tuesday night at the Sewall Center.

The Red Flash, which concludes its 2013-14 season with an overall record of 10-21, grabbed their biggest lead of the contest, 16-6, at the 7:12 mark of the first half when Ronnie Drinnon converted a layup. SFU fell behind early in the contest, 6-2, but used a 14-0 run to grab a double-digit advantage thanks to four three-pointers, including a pair from Dominique Major.

Earl Brown would give the Red Flash a 20-11 lead with 3:46 to play before halftime with a jumper in the paint, but Robert Morris scored the final four points of the stanza to close to within 20-15 at the break.

Attacking the paint in the second half, senior guard Karvel Anderson went 6-for-6 at the free-throw line in the first four and-a-half minutes after intermission, and a jumper from sophomore forward Stephan Hawkins capped the run for the Colonials.

Ben Millaud-Meunier would convert from beyond the arc, and a three-point play by Earl Brown closed Saint Francis U. to within 32-28 with 13:04 remaining, but a 13-5 run gave Robert Morris its biggest advantage of the game, 45-33, with 9:02 to play. Anderson scored six points during the spurt, while junior guard Charles Oliver.

The cushion remained in double digits for RMU at the 4:46 mark of the second half when junior forward Lucky Jones hit a jumper, but the Red Flash responded with a 10-1 run to make it a one-point contest, 55-54, with 2:12 to play. Malik Harmon, the 2014 NEC Rookie of the Year, buried a pair of three-pointers, while Drinnon came up with a steal and a dunk to cap the surge.

Anderson came through for the Colonials, as his jumper with 1:51 to go gave RMU a 57-54 edge before Millaund-Meunier and junior guard David Appolon traded a pair of free throws.

Brown was fouled with 41.3 seconds left and hit the back end of a pair of attempts at the chalk to pull the Saint Francis to within 59-57, and Appolon was fouled by Millaud-Meunier with 21.1 ticks left on the clock. Appolon hit the back end to give Robert Morris a 60-57 cushion and out of an SFU timeout Harmon's desperation 3-pointer as time expired was short.

Anderson led all scorers with 21 points, scoring all of his points in the second half. He finished 4-for-10 shooting from the field and 12-for-12 at the free-throw line and also added four rebounds and two steals. Jones added 18 points, seven rebounds, three assists and a pair of steals for RMU.

Brown paced Saint Francis with 18 points and seven rebounds, while Millaud-Meunier contributed 15 points off the bench. Drinnon grabbed a game-high nine boards for the Red Flash but finished with six points on 2-of-9 shooting from the floor.

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