For most of this season, the top of scoring sheet has been fairly predictable for Robert Morris.
Redshirt junior Velton Jones nearly always is there. Leading the Colonials with 16.8 points per game, he has been the team's top scorer in 15 of 25 games. Behind Jones is usually sharpshooter Coron Williams, who leads the team with 56 3-pointers and averages 11.0 points per game.
This past weekend, though, some new names worked their way up the scoreboard.
While the Colonials struggled offensively in their 80-69 loss Thursday against Wagner, freshman guard Brandon Herman came off the bench to score 11 points and pace the team. Sophomore Mike McFadden chipped in another 10.
- Matchup: Robert Morris (17-8, 8-4 NEC) at Saint Francis (5-18, 4-8), 7 p.m. today, DeGol Arena, Loretto, Pa.
- Radio, Internet: WPIT-AM (730), rmucolonials.com.
- Robert Morris: Beat Mount St. Mary's Saturday, converting a season-high 53.3 percent of its field-goal attempts. ... Colonials have won 24 games in a row when shooting 50 percent or better from the floor. ... Has won seven consecutive games at DeGol Arena, the longest win streak at an opposing venue in program history. ... Leading scorer Velton Jones (16.8 points per game) has total of 19 points in the past two games.
- Saint Francis: Lost to Wagner, 72-54, Saturday. ... Sophomore F Scott Eatherton leads Red Flash in scoring (14.8 points) and rebounding (7.1) and leads NEC in field-goal percentage (62.7 percent). ... Tied with Mount St. Mary's for ninth in NEC, but only top eight make the conference tournament.
- Hidden stat: Robert Morris leads NEC in rebounding defense (30.7 boards per game). Saint Francis is last in NEC in rebounding (28.1).
After the loss against Wagner, the game Saturday at Mount St. Mary's virtually became a must-win for Robert Morris if the Colonials want to remain in the driver's seat for an NEC home playoff game. While Velton Jones and Williams combined for 19 points against the Mountaineers, freshman Lucky Jones stepped up with a career-high 17 and sophomore Anthony Myers poured in 15. The Colonials walked away with a 67-62 victory.
"Right now, we're open to anybody that wants to come and give us a lift," coach Andy Toole said. "We need as many guys as possible contributing. Whether it's scoring, whether it's effort, whether it's rebounds, whether it's winning plays, assists, whatever it is. We need to get as many guys as humanly possible contributing and getting things going in the right direction."
Myers has been floating in and out of the box score this season. He has scored in double-digits six times, but also has posted nine games with five or fewer points.
Against Wagner, he scored one point in 22 minutes. He said Toole talked with him after the game and told him he had one of the "biggest hearts" on the team and implored him to improve his game and bring his teammates along with him.
"Sometimes, I think my aggressiveness is the X-factor in the game," Myers said. "Sometimes, I'm not as aggressive as I should be, and that's more pressure on [Velton] and [Coron]. I know I can score sometimes or penetrate and pass for others, help the team out."
A more-balanced scoring effort certainly would go a long way in helping Toole feel more comfortable about his team's identity, which he has questioned recently. While he said he was pleased with the last 25-30 minutes of the Mount St. Mary's game, when the Colonials bounced back from a 13-point deficit and got a much-needed conference win, he lamented his team's inconsistency.
"We're still a little Jekyll and Hyde," he said. "We've got to do it on a consistent basis. We've got to do it night in and night out, not just every once in a while or when the mood strikes us."
There's no better time than now for the Colonials.
After their two-game "rivalry series" against Saint Francis this weekend, Robert Morris will play host Thursday to Bryant. The Red Flash and Bulldogs are a combined 7-40 this season.
Sam Werner: firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @SWernerPG