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Sacred Heart pulls away late to beat Robert Morris

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Junior guard Rodney Pryor scored 25 of his career-high 31 points in the second half

Fairfield, CN – Sacred Heart shot 53.3 percent (16-for-30) from the field in the second half en route to an 80-76 victory over Robert Morris Thursday night at the William H. Pitt Center.

The Colonials fell to 13-14 overall on the 2014-15 campaign with the loss, including 9-6 in the Northeast Conference, while the Pioneers improved to 13-15 overall and 7-8 in league play. SHU clinched the final berth in the NEC Tournament with the win.

Junior guard Rodney Pryor tied the game for the 15th time with 2:21 to play, 70-70, thanks to a layup, but Evan Kelley pushed the Pioneers back in front, 72-70, on SHU's next possession with a layup of his own. RMU had a chance to tie the game, but a layup from sophomore guard Kavon Stewart was short, and Cane Broome came down with the rebound for Sacred Heart and was immediately fouled.

Broome sank both of his attempts at the free-throw line to give the Pioneers a 74-70 lead with 1:12 to play, and Tevin Falzon helped seal the victory with a layup with 30.8 seconds to go that gave Sacred Heart a 76-71 advantage.

Falzon finished with 13 points and a career-high 18 rebounds in the win, grabbing nine offensive rebounds. He was one of four Pioneers to score in double figures, as Kelley led the way with 18 points while compiling seven rebounds, three assists and three steals.

Robert Morris owned its biggest lead of the second half, 51-45, with 11:16 to play after a layup from Pryor, but SHU used a 12-5 surge that was capped by a 3-pointer from Broome to help the Pioneers grab a 57-56 edge.

The Colonials battled back, owning their last lead with six minutes to play, 62-60, thanks to a layup from junior forward Aaron Tate, but Sacred Heart scored the next seven points of the contest to take control.

Pryor scored 25 of his career-high 31 points in the second half to lead Robert Morris, finishing 12-for-16 shooting from the floor, including 3-of-4 from beyond the arc, while going 4-for-4 at the stripe. He also added seven rebounds.

Freshman guard Marcquise Reed added 16 points, while Stewart finished with 11. However, the duo of Reed and Stewart combined for 10 turnovers as RMU finished with 20 as a team.

"When you shoot 53 percent from the field and score 76 points, that's a recipe for success," head coach Andrew Toole said. "But you have to defend. Details make all the difference. You have to defend, rebound and limit turnovers, and we didn't do any of those tonight."

The Colonials shot 60.7 percent (17-for-28) from the field after halftime and 52.7 percent (29-for-55) overall, snapping a streak of 23 consecutive victories against NEC foes when shooting 50 percent or better from the floor.

Broome added 16 points for Sacred Heart, while Barnett chipped in 11 points as the Pioneers shot 43.8 percent (28-for-64) from the field overall.

Robert Morris concludes a two-game road trip through New England Saturday, Feb. 21, with a 4:00 p.m. tip in Smithfield, R.I., against Bryant at the Chace Athletic Center.

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