Robert Morris more than just Lucky in easy victory vs. Monmouth
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Lucky Jones came off the bench to score 15 points, and three other players reached double figures as Robert Morris defeated Monmouth, 69-51, in a Northeast Conference game Saturday night at the Sewall Center.
Reserves Keith Armstrong and Anthony Myers added 11 and 10 points, respectively, while starting guard Velton Jones had 11 points.
The victory improved the Colonials' record to 6-2. The start represents the best start in the school's history. The loss was the eighth in a row for the winless Hawks.
Dion Nesmith led Monmouth with 13 points. Jesse Steele added 11.
Jones had a scary moment with 2:55 remaining in the game and the Colonials holding a 64-48 lead. Jones tracked down a loose ball in front of the Monmouth bench. With his momentum carrying him out of bounds, Jones leaped over the Hawks bench, thrust the ball with a two-hand motion over his head to a teammate and crashed into the bleachers behind the Hawks bench. Jones stayed down for several minutes before walking to the Colonials bench.
"It was an unbelievable effort play," said Colonials coach Andy Toole, who said he believed Jones suffered a bone bruise on his left foot. "As soon as he left the floor, I just wish he hadn't. But that's who Velton is. He doesn't have much concern for his own well-being or his own body. That's why our guys love him, and that's why he's one of our leaders. He's willing to make himself a little more uncomfortable than some of our guys are."
Monmouth coach King Rice had a front-row seat to Jones' unselfish play.
"How many guys try to even make that play when you're up 16-17 points?" he asked. "That says so much about [Jones]. That tells you he's a special player."
While Toole is pleased with Jones' hustle, he was not so happy with his team's inside play.
"Going into halftime, we had gone 53 minutes without a defensive rebound by a center," he said. "That's an amazing stat to me. At some point, our centers are going to have to actually grab a rebound if we're going to be a good team."
The Colonials began to live up to their coach's expectations as they outrebounded the Hawks, 38-17. Lijah Thompson and Jones each had seven rebounds for the Colonials. That included a 22-4 advantage in the second half.
The Colonials were never out of the lead in this game. An Anthony Myers layup following a steal and ensuing pass from Jones gave the Colonials a 21-6 lead with 11:26 to go in the first half. The Colonials' lead grew to 19 at 32-13 on another Myers layup.
Monmouth cut the deficit to 36-23 on two free throws by Nesmith. But the Colonials outscored the Hawks, 8-2, over the remaining 2:28 of the first half as Myers grabbed an errant 3-point attempt out of the air by Lawrence Bridges just before the halftime buzzer to convert a layup and give Robert Morris a 43-25 advantage. Monmouth did cut the deficit to 45-34 less than three minutes into the second half, but the Colonials outscored the Hawks, 24-17, over the remainder of the game to keep a comfortable margin.
Robert Morris visits Duquesne in a non-conference game Tuesday night at the Palumbo Center.
First Published December 4, 2011 12:00 am