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Robert Morris falls to hot-shooting St. Francis-Brooklyn 68-63

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Lucky Jones set the Robert Morris all-time rebounding record but the Colonials dropped a thriller to St. Francis-Brooklyn 68-63 in front of a packed house Friday night at the Sewall Center.

CORAOPOLIS, PA - ESPN was in the house and the Sewall Center was rocking Friday night for a late-night battle between two of the top teams in the Northeast Conference. The St. Francis-Brooklyn Terriers were in town to battle Robert Morris with a share of first-place on the line.

Robert Morris senior Lucky Jones made history by becoming the program's all-time leading rebounder, but St. Francis came away with the victory, shooting lights out in the second half to edge the Colonials 68-63.

The Colonials had an eight-point halftime lead that reached 10 early in the second half, but St. Francis senior Brent Jones led all scorers with 23 points, including 21 in the second half as the Terriers shot 66.7 percent over the final 20 minutes.

"The tougher team won the game tonight," said Robert Morris head coach Andy Toole. "St. Francis-Brooklyn was the tougher team over 40 minutes. We stopped defending in the second half and therefore we were not able to get the win."

The loss drops the Colonials to 3-2 in the conference.

"It's tough right now because that's one of the top teams in the league and this was a statement game," said RMU guard Rodney Pryor, who had 15 points.

St. Francis dominated the offensive glass early, out-rebounding Robert Morris 6-1 in the opening 13 minutes, but the Terriers made just 4 of their first 17 attempts and shot under 30 percent in the first half.

Robert Morris, despite taking some time to find their rhythm, shot 59 percent in front of an energized student section.

The Colonials went on a 16-6 run, highlighted by seven free throws, to take a 29-21 lead into the locker room.

Pryor's layup to open the second half pushed the Robert Morris lead to 10 at 31-21.

That's when Brent Jones came alive for St. Francis. He hit three 3-pointers, sandwiched around a layup, to score 11 consecutive points for the Terriers.

Jones' hot streak was part of a 9-0 run that gave St. Francis a 46-41 lead.

"He's probably the best point guard in our league right now," said Toole. "He's a senior and he's tough as nails, and they needed him to make big shots tonight and he did. And our defense faltered."

Pryor gave St. Francis their due, but felt that the Colonials were somewhat to blame for Jones' offensive explosion.

"Our lack of awareness in the second half killed us," he said. "Defensively we need to talk more. When we get away from our bench, our communication isn't great. We need to be more aware."

Pryor's 3-pointer ended RMU's scoring drought, and he and freshman Andre Frederick followed with layups to re-take the lead for the Colonials at 48-46.

The teams exchanged leads seven times over the next five minutes but consecutive treys from Glenn Sanabria put St. Francis in front 61-57 with four minutes remaining.

Marcquise Reed, who led RMU with 18 points, converted a layup with 29 seconds left to pull Robert Morris within two at 65-63.

RMU trailed by 3 and had a chance to tie the game on their final possession, but Lucky Jones lost the ball out of bounds. The Colonials stole the inbounds pass, but couldn't convert and St. Francis hit a pair of free throws to close out the scoring.

Jones, who had 12 points and 9 rebounds for Robert Morris, broke the record when he pulled down a rebound off a missed foul shot early in the seRobert Morris Lucky Jonescond half. The previous record was shared by Tony Lee and Anthony Dickins. He wasn't able to get much satisfaction from his record-breaking night.

"I just feel as though I don't need to worry about that," he said. "It's a good feeling but at the end of the day I really wanted this win more than I wanted the rebounds."

Robert Morris has a short turnaround, hosting Sacred Heart Sunday at 1 PM.

"We can't hang our heads too long," said Pryor about the loss. "We have to get a win on Sunday."

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