It wouldn't have been fair to expect Robert Morris to thrash Savannah State from start to finish, the same way Pitt had a night earlier. But the end result for the Colonials was nearly the same.
Robert Morris pulled away in the second half Saturday at the Sewall Center for a convincing 86-66 win in its season-opener against a team that beat them a year ago.
Savannah State never truly threatened, but hung around early in the second half.
Then Karvel Anderson took over.
Anderson scored 10 points on four consecutive possessions for Robert Morris that finally gave the Colonials some separation midway through the second half.
"Sometimes when you get into those zones, the rim seems like an ocean, you just feel like you can't miss," Anderson said. "Fortunately for myself, I got into one of those zones and my team kept finding me.
"I don't think they changed their defense, my teammates just kept telling me, 'Keep looking for your shot, keep trying to score,' [and] my coaches kept telling me. Them having that confidence in me, and already having the confidence I have in myself, that helps."
Anderson, a 6-foot-2 senior guard, started the sequence with a 3-pointer, then followed with a transition 3 that signaled the tide had finally turned Robert Morris' way for good.
Anderson added jumpers on the next two possessions to put the Colonials ahead, 60-51, giving them their largest lead at that point.
"He's a guy who has to score the ball for us to be a good team," coach Andy Toole added. "He has a great gift of being able to make shots, we just have to keep encouraging him."
Anderson finished with 21 points in 26 minutes, hitting 7 of 2 field goals. Mike McFadden narrowly missed a double-double with 12 points and nine rebounds.
Two reasons Robert Morris didn't pull away sooner from a Savannah State team that trailed Pitt by 27 at halftime Friday night were an inability to get to loose balls and inefficiency from the free-throw line, where the Colonials shot 64 percent on 45 attempts.
Asked after the game what his coach would be most upset with, McFadden pointed directly to the 50-50 balls the Colonials couldn't get to.
"I think we have been slacking, we're still taking that lightly," he said. "When we watch film, all the loose balls that we see, [Coach] is going to talk about it, watch it 30 times."
Guard Charles Oliver had a good showing in his first half, scoring nine points before intermission, making all three shots he took, and finished with 12 points.
Joshua Montgomery led Savannah State with 14 points on 4-of-6 shooting after going 0 of 5 from the field Friday.
Robert Morris next plays at 7 p.m. Tuesday against Lafayette.
Nick Veronica: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @NickVeronica.