FAIRFIELD, Conn – Senior guard Karvel Anderson scored a career-high 36 points on 15-of-19 shooting as the Robert Morris Colonials defeated the Sacred Heart Pioneers, 79-70, at the Pitt Center Thursday night to kick-off the Northeast Conference season. The Pioneers fall to 0-4 at home this season and 3-13 overall.
Senior forward Mostafa Abdel Latif (Alexandria, Egypt) scored a career-high 17 points on 8-of-8 shooting for the Pioneers. He also pulled down 12 rebounds to record his second double double of the season. Freshman De'Von Barnett (Waldorf, MD) scored 12 points after being put in the starting lineup for the first time this season, while Louis Montes (Brockton, MA) chipped in with 11 points. Junior point guard Phil Gaetano (Wallingford, CT) dished out seven assists with nine points.
Besides Anderson, Lucky Jones was the only other Colonial in double digits with 17 points, making 6-of-6 from the free throw line. Robert Morris made 10-of-15 three-pointers, including 6-of-7 from Anderson.
Sacred Heart jumped out to an early 8-3 lead thanks to good ball movement against the Robert Morris 2-3 zone. Abdel Latif, Barnett, and Chris Evans (Stamford, CT) were all able to find creases in the zone and finish lay-ups. The Colonials hung around courtesy of tremendous long-range shooting; connecting on their first three three-point attempts, two from Jones and one from Anderson. Anderson had five of Robert Morris' first 11 points, including a lay-up to tie the game at 11. Phil Gaetano responded with a three at the top of the arc to put SHU ahead 14-11 with 14:01 remaining.
Sacred Heart and Robert Morris exchanged buckets for much of the first half until Gaetano and junior Steve Glowiak (New Britain, CT) knocked down back-to-back three-pointers to give SHU a 28-27 lead with 5:42 remaining in the first. The one point lead would be the Pioneers last of the game, as Anderson sparked a 13-3 run to end the first half with a three-pointer, followed by a lay-up. Robert Morris took a 40-31 lead into halftime.
Sacred Heart battled back in the second half. Montes knocked down a three-pointer to cut the lead to 47-40 with 17:06 remaining. The Pioneers went on separate 8-0 and 9-0 runs to cut into the Colonials lead but could not stop Anderson down the stretch, as the senior guard answered all the Pioneer punches. An offensive rebound and lay-up by Barnett capped off an 8-0 SHU run that put the Pioneers within four at 62-58 with 7:45 remaining, but Anderson answered with a three-pointer to put RMU quickly up seven again. The Pioneers were once again within two points at 72-70 with two minutes remaining, but a runner in the lane from Anderson, followed by a backbreaking three, his sixth of the game, put SHU away for good.
Sacred Heart will be at home again on Saturday afternoon as the Fairleigh Dickinson Knights come to town for a 2:00 tip.
Notes: Abdel-Latif is the first Pioneer to be perfect from the field with at least six field goal attempts in a game since Joey Henley did it in 2009. Sacred Heart is 0-4 at home for the first time since the 2004-05 season.