Robert Morris men drop second straight in loss to Quinnipiac
The misery for local sports teams continued Thursday night with Robert Morris taking its turn as victim.
The Colonials (12-6, 3-2 Northeast Conference) dropped their second consecutive game, falling to Quinnipiac, 78-76, at Sewall Center. Robert Morris joins the Steelers, Penguins and the Pitt and Duquesne men’s basketball teams in losing this week.
James Johnson scored 18 of his game-high 22 points in the second half, as Quinnipiac (9-7, 2-3) rallied from a 35-27 halftime deficit. Dave Johnson, who averaged 6.8 points per game, chipped in 18 points.
“You’re not going to win many games when a team shoots 58 percent from the field and 70 percent from the 3-point line,” Robert Morris coach Andy Toole said. “I’m disappointed we didn’t have more enthusiasm. We weren’t very sharp and didn’t make enough winning plays.
“You have to play with great energy and passion like we did for a seven-minute stretch in the first half. When you don’t play with energy and passion, you give up 51 points in the final 20 minutes.”
The Colonials controlled the offensive boards in the first half, pulling down 10 offensive rebounds, and used a 13-0 run to erase a 25-20 deficit.
But Quinnipiac, the second-best rebounding team in the NCAA, limited Robert Morris to one offensive rebound in the second half.
“Our offensive poise and our second-half rebounds were the key,” Quinnipiac coach Tom Moore said. “We probably blocked out better. This was a good win for us.
“When we prepare for Robert Morris, we spend more time on offense than we do against any other team. Probably 75 percent of our time is dedicated to offense.”
Quinnipiac shot 16 for 24 in the second half and 4 for 4 from 3-point range.
Velton Jones, who was held scoreless in the first half, scored 22 points to lead the Colonials. Mike McFadden and Lijah Thompson each scored 11, and Lucky Jones and Anthony Myers scored 10 apiece.
James Johnson and Dave Johnson helped Quinnipiac build a 74-64 lead with 58.3 left. Lucky Jones drained two 3-pointers, and Velton Jones added another six down the stretch, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Bobcats.
“We messed up too many times on defense and left them get too many open shots,” Velton Jones said. “I tried to play aggressive in the second half and do anything to get the team a win. But we just couldn’t contain James (Johnson). He’s going to hit open shots.”
Velton Jones said the key now is not letting the consecutive losses get to the team.
“We have to practice hard and get focused for (Sacred Heart on) Saturday,” he said.
Said Toole: “We have to reteach them how to play defense. If we don’t defend, we’re nothing.”
Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review sports reporter. You can contact Paul by email at email@example.com or via Twitter .