Colonials pour it on in second half en route to blowout victory against Duquesne
Velton Jones of Robert Morris runs down a loose ball ahead of Duquesne's Jerry Jones in the first half Saturday night at Sewall Center in Moon Township. Robert Morris defeated the Dukes, 91-69.
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Holding a slim lead heading into the second half against Duquesne, Robert Morris went on a run in which it connected on all but one of the field goals it attempted.
At the end of the run, while Duquesne coach Jim Ferry was assessed a technical foul, a row of overhead lights at Charles Sewall Center flickered before fading to black.
The Colonials, in an almost poetic moment of happenstance, shot the lights out in their own building.
A frenzied second-half run in which Robert Morris turned a closely contested game into a double-digit lead soon turned into a 91-69 victory against Duquesne. It gave the Colonials (7-4) their fourth consecutive victory and their sixth in their past seven games.
As painfully obvious as it seems, the first five minutes of the second half helped to decide it for Robert Morris.
"We talked about for the final 20 minutes, making sure we were back every single time, sprinting back, playing with all-out effort," Robert Morris coach Andy Toole said. "I think we did that. Obviously, we scored as many points as we do in entire games, but I think it was a product of us taking high-percentage shots and really moving the basketball."
Guard Velton Jones had six assists and scored a season-high 22 points and Coron Williams added a season-high 16. In all, four Robert Morris players scored in double figures as the Colonials pumped in 60 second-half points.
The win for Robert Morris was its third in a row against Duquesne, marking the first time in program history that has been accomplished.
For the players, it's not an interesting piece of trivia, it's something that has considerable value.
"It means a lot, actually," Jones said of the feat. "It's a good feeling. Duquesne is a rival school and to beat them three times in my four years here, it's an accomplishment I can be proud of."
The Colonials' second-half outburst featured a 26-8 run in which they made nine of its 10 field-goal attempts, including a 6-for-6 effort from 3-point range. After shooting 37 percent in the first half, right around the team's season average, Robert Morris made 65.6 percent of its field goals and 64.3 percent of its 3-point attempts in the second half.
In that run, five different Colonials players scored, including Williams, who knocked in six points in those decisive first five minutes after struggling for much of the season. He finished with six baskets on 11 shots.
"Once I see a ball go in once, it gives me a little confidence," Williams said. "I hit one in the first half and, after that, I missed a couple, but coming out in the second half and going back to the basics during shootaround, making one,
"I was able to get a rhythm after that. Just seeing the ball go in is a big-time boost."
The loss for the Dukes (6-5) snapped a two-game win streak which included a 60-56 comeback victory Tuesday against West Virginia.
Guard Derrick Colter led the Dukes with 16 points, while forward Andre Marhold added nine points and a game-high 11 rebounds.
Duquesne, however, turned the ball over 25 times, with Robert Morris taking advantage by scoring 31 points off of those turnovers.
While it was the Colonials' night, it was not the Dukes' night.
"I don't think I've ever seen 31 points off of turnovers and I've been doing this for a long time," Ferry said. "I credit them, and shame on us for not doing what we're supposed to do."
• Game: Robert Morris at Louisiana-Lafayette, Cajun Dome, Lafayette, La.
• When: 8 p.m. Tuesday.
• The skinny: Sophomore F Shawn Long averages 16.8 ppg and 9.2 rpg for the Rajin' Cajuns.
First Published December 16, 2012 12:18 am