Robert Morris secures home playoff game but loses Abraham

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It was a good news, bad news night for the Robert Morris basketball team Thursday.

The good news? The Colonials clinched a Northeast Conference tournament home game with a 65-57 victory against Mount St. Mary's at the Sewall Center.

The bad? Leading scorer Karon Abraham will not be available for it.

Robert Morris coach Andy Toole announced Abraham is lost for the season after tests revealed the sophomore guard partially tore his right Achilles tendon in a game last week. Abraham will have surgery Monday and be sidelined for four to six months, Toole said.

"It's a shame for [Karon], because I think he was really starting to get on track," Toole added.

It took a team effort to replace him Thursday night and to fend off an outstanding performance by Mountaineers guard Lamar Trice.

Trice scored 24 points and helped spark a comeback that nearly wiped away Robert Morris double-digit second-half lead.

"He's going to shoot crazy shots and make crazy shots," Robert Morris sophomore guard Velton Jones said. "That's what he's been doing all year."

Trice was the only Mountaineer to finish in double figures.

Jones led the Colonials with 12 points and sophomore forwards Lijah Thompson and Russell Johnson added 10 points each. Three other Colonials scored at least seven points in the win.

"I thought it was a great team effort," Toole said. "Being without Karon is something we're going to have to get used to."

With the win and Wagner's loss Thursday night to Saint Francis, the Colonials clinched at least a No. 4 seed and a home game in the NEC postseason tournament, which starts next Thursday.

"That's something that's great, but let's see what else we can do," Toole said.

Robert Morris (15-13, 11-6) could improve its seeding with a win against Wagner and a Central Connecticut State loss Saturday.

The Colonials limited the Mountaineers (10-20, 8-9) to a 34.6 percent shooting percentage and held forward Shawn Atupem, one of the Mountaineers' most dangerous players, to two points.

"That's a great defensive effort," Toole said. "We know how good he is, how talented he is. He's killed us in the past before."

Robert Morris forced Atupem into early foul trouble and limited the senior to three field-goal attempts.

"Containing him and getting him in foul trouble helped us win the game because he's a really, really good player," Jones said.

Robert Morris freshman guard Coron Williams started in Abraham's place and scored nine points on 4-of-9 shooting.

"I just knew I had a big role," Williams said. "I had to go in and score the ball. That's been my role this year, score."

To get in the mood, Williams watched his highlight DVD from his junior year of high school basketball.

Mount St. Mary's controlled the first 10 minutes, building an early six-point lead and challenging the Colonials' transition defense. But with a little less than 10 minutes remaining in the first half, Robert Morris went on an 11-0 run to take control of the game.

Robert Morris led, 29-27, at halftime.

The Mountaineers took the lead 10 seconds into the second half, but that was the only time they had the advantage the rest of the game.

The Colonials overtook Mount St. Mary's on the ensuing possession and used a 10-0 run midway through the second half to gain some breathing room.

Michael Sanserino: or 412-263-1722.


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