Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Revenge on Rmu's Minds vs. Liu Tonight

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Revenge on Rmu's Minds vs. Liu Tonight

Article excerpt

Velton Jones' most vivid memory from the Northeast Conference championship game last year is not from the game itself.

Jones said what sticks in his mind the most is watching Long Island's fans storm the court after the Blackbirds' 85-82 overtime win, which propelled them to the NCAA tournament and sent Robert Morris home for the postseason.

"They took what was ours last year," Jones said. "That's our goal every year, to get to the NCAA tournament, and they took it away from us."

Tonight, the Colonials will get their first crack at Long Island since that championship game. While there will be no NCAA tournament bid on the line when the Blackbirds visit Sewall Center, the game undoubtedly will be the biggest of Robert Morris' season thus far.

Long Island (14-6, 8-0 NEC) sits atop the conference, two games ahead of the four-way tie for second that includes the Colonials (15- 6, 6-2).

"It's a huge game," Robert Morris coach Andy Toole said. "I think it's really going to separate whether or not we're going to be contending for a regular-season NEC championship or if we just pretend to be."

A win against the Blackbirds likely will require a better effort than what the Colonials have put out recently. They won both games last weekend, against Fairleigh Dickinson and Monmouth, but Jones and Toole agreed that the team did not play its best.

Robert Morris struggled to put away the Knights (1-18, 0-8), who had lost 14 games in a row. Saturday, it trailed Monmouth (4-17, 2- 6) by as many as 15 points in the second half before charging back to win in overtime.

"There's some mistakes we made that we need to clean up," Toole said. "I keep saying that and I don't always see the mistakes getting cleaned up. It's getting worrisome because there's only 10 games left. Guys' seasons and guys' careers go by so fast, and they don't even realize it. …

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