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Defense lifts Robert Morris over Saint Peter's 55-30

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Colonials establish school record for fewest points allowed in a game in Toole's debut

The Robert Morris University men's basketball team christened the Andrew Toole era Saturday night with a virtuoso defensive performance, holding Saint Peter's to just six field goals and a 16.7 shooting percentage (6-for-36) from the field en route to a 55-30 victory at the Charles L. Sewall Center in the 2010-11 regular-season opener for both programs.

The 30 points marks a single-game school record for fewest points allowed by RMU in its 35-year Division I history, eclipsing a 58-34 win over St. Francis (N.Y.) at the Sewall Center Jan. 17, 1987.

The Colonials jumped out to a 9-0 lead in the first five minutes of action as freshman forward Yann Charles (Longueuil, Quebec / Champlain St. Albert) scored four points, sophomore guard Karon Abraham (Paterson, N.J. / Harp Academy) hit a three-pointer and senior guard Gary Wallace (Montclair, N.J. / Seton Hall Prep) drained a jumper.

Saint Peter's cracked the scoreboard at the 14:37 mark of the first half with a layup from Ryan Bacon but converted just three of its 17 shots (17.6 percent) from the field and were just 6-for-16 (37.5 percent) at the free-throw line before halftime.

Robert Morris didn't fare much better offensively, finishing 8-for-30 (26.7 percent) from the floor in the first half. Abraham and Charles combined for 20 of RMU's 23 points before the break, converting seven of their 11 shots from the field, while the rest of team shot just 1-for-19 (5.3 percent).

Redshirt sophomores Russell Johnson (Chester, Pa. / Chester) and Velton Jones (Philadelphia, Pa. / Northeast) each hit three-pointers during a 10-1 surge to start the second half that allowed the Colonials to open up a 33-14 lead with 17:10 remaining.

The Peacocks responded with a 7-0 spurt of their own as Jeron Belin hit a pair from the charity stripe, Chris Burke buried a three-pointer and Nick Leon hit a jumper. However, after Leon hit a pair of free throws with 12:57 to play that trimmed the deficit for Saint Peter's to 35-23, the Peacoccks went scoreless for almost the next 10  minutes.

Robert Morris took its biggest lead, 53-23, with 3:20 remaining on a jumper from Charles, and Saint Peter's snapped its offensive drought with four straight free throws from Leon.

Abraham scored a game-high 14 points on 3-of-7 shooting from the field, including a 2-for-4 performance from long range, and was 6-for-6 at the free-throw line. Johnson scored all 12 of his points in the second half, while Charles chipped in with 10 points, three rebounds, two blocks and a steal in his Colonial debut.

Leon paced the Peacocks with 13 points on the strength of an 8-for-9 performance at the free-throw line. He was the only player from Saint Peter's to score more than four points.

RMU held a 44-38 edge on the glass, outscored the Peacocks, 20-6, in points in the paint as well as 26-2 in points off turnovers. Saint Peter's finished with 21 turnovers on the game, while the Colonials finished with 11.

Overall Robert Morris shot 34.4 percent (21-for-61) from the field but were 7-for-9 (77.8 percent) at the free-throw line.

Robert Morris continues its 2010-11 campaign Tuesday, Nov. 16, by taking part in ESPN's College Hoops Tipoff Marathon, visiting Kent State for an 8:00 a.m. tip at the Memorial Athletic and Convocation Center.

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