Throughout the season, almost regardless of the opponent, Robert Morris games have followed a similar script. The Colonials jump out to an early lead, only to see their opponent make a run and claw its way back.
Against a struggling Campbell team Wednesday, one ranked among the bottom 50 of Division I, things were playing out as they so often have this season. A hot shooting start gave Robert Morris a double-digit lead, but with less than 11 minutes remaining, that advantage was down to two points.
With the potential of a disheartening loss looming, an oft-repeated concept was preached over and over by Colonials coach Andy Toole.
"Energy, basically," forward Lucky Jones said. "That's all he told us -- bring energy.
"We knew we were better than them. Once we started bringing our energy and started having a little more fun out there, that's when we started to pull away."
And so they did.
Boosted by a 12-5 run and a game-high 18 points from Jones, the Colonials (5-7) were able to stave off and ultimately pull away from Campbell in a 72-61 victory at Sewall Center.
The win was the Colonials' second in a row, a streak that has come on the heels of a skid in which they lost seven of eight.
Coming off an important win Saturday against Duquesne, Robert Morris was able to get what it needed -- a consistent enough performance.
"When you're 4-7, it shouldn't be very hard," Toole said of getting mentally prepared for a game. "But maybe that's part of the reason that you were 4-7 coming into the game, because your consistency isn't what it needs to be.
"We had some guys that gave great efforts on Saturday and some of them weren't as energetic or as focused as they needed to be [Wednesday night]. We need as much consistency as humanly possible."
Karvel Anderson added 16 points and fellow guard Anthony Myers-Pate had perhaps his best performance of the season, dishing out eight assists and scoring a season-high 12 points.
After making 11 of their first 18 shots to build an early cushion, Robert Morris saw the Fighting Camels (4-7) trim their deficit to a single basket with 10:37 remaining.
With its lead and momentum nearly gone, Robert Morris stepped up defensively, holding Campbell without a field goal for the next 7:58. By the time Reco McCarter's layup ended that drought, the Colonials led by eight with 2:39 remaining.
While the Fighting Camels have been largely ineffective on offense this season, they entered Wednesday as one of the top 50 teams in Division I in 3-point shooting percentage.
Utilizing a zone defense, Robert Morris managed to hold them to 31.8 percent from 3-point range.
"We wanted to make sure we took away the 3," Toole said. "They make nine a game and shoot it at about 38-39 percent. To hold them to seven, that's six points that they don't get that's maybe a big difference in this game."
With their second two-game win streak of the season secured, the Colonials are well aware of what happened after their first one -- a slump that dropped their record to 3-7.
"[There is] a little bit of momentum, but we had this talk before when we won two in a row," Jones said. "We have to stay humble."
Craig Meyer: firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter @CraigMeyerPG.
First Published December 18, 2013 9:27 PM