Robert Morris Colonials cruise to win in NEC opener
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Robert Morris rode a smothering first-half defense to a 66-54 win Thursday night against Fairleigh Dickinson in the team's Northeast Conference opener.
The Colonials forced 22 turnovers, including 12 steals. They led, 36-14, at halftime, and held off the Knights, who never came closer than 12 points in the second half. Robert Morris never trailed after the first 1:46 of the game.
"Obviously glad that we won the game, not happy the way we finished the game," Robert Morris coach Andy Toole said. "I thought the first half we did a nice job offensively attacking their zone."
Coron Williams led the Colonials with 19 points. He made 5 of 6 3-pointers, all in the first half. Velton Jones chipped in 18 points and six assists. The Colonials scored 20 points off turnovers.
Robert Morris closed out the first half on a 13-2 run, punctuated by back-to-back 3-pointers from Williams.
"They were zoning up. I'm a shooter and that's what I'm supposed to do," Williams said.
The Colonials relaxed a little bit in the second half and seemed to struggle with Fairleigh Dickinson's full-court press.
In the final 20 minutes, Robert Morris committed 13 turnovers to just four assists.
"I think we just got happy," Williams said. "We got happy we were up and we relaxed. We relaxed too much."
Freshman Lucky Jones led the team with six rebounds and four steals off the bench. He also scored nine points, but shot just 3 of 10 from the field.
"He's always involved in the action. He's always on the floor," Toole said of Jones. "Some of it's positive, some of it's negative. I think it's more positive than negative."
The Knights were playing without their leading scorer, Melquan Bolding, who sat because of what Fairleigh Dickinson Greg Vetrone called a team and coach's decision.
Vetrone said the Colonials are difficult to prepare for because they're so versatile defensively, with players that can switch to numerous positions.
"I don't know in my career if I've seen a defensive half of that caliber," Vetrone said of the first half.
Lonnie Hayes led the Knights with 25 points, all of which came in the second half. After being shut out in the first 20 minutes, Hayes seemed to make a more concerted effort to get to the basket instead of taking jumpers.
The Colonials return to action Saturday night with a Northeast Conference home game against Monmouth.
First Published December 2, 2011 12:00 am