FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Junior forward Joseph Lopez had a season-high 23 points and 16 rebounds Thursday as Sacred Heart dropped its Northeast Conference opener to the Robert Morris Colonials 78-67 at Coach Bike Court at the Pitt Center.
Sacred Heart (5-9, 0-1 NEC) took a five-point lead early in the game, as Lopez scored the Pioneers' first seven points in the first 2:30. SHU led by as many as eight points in the first half, as a Lopez layup at the 8:25 mark gave the Pioneers a 21-13 lead. Robert Morris got back into the game with a 9-2 run at the end of the half. Isaiah Still's three-pointer at the horn cut the Colonials' deficit to one 35-34.
The Pioneers opened the second half on a 11-3 run over the first 2:47. A Buovac three capped the run which gave SHU a 44-37 lead. Robert Morris trailed 46-39 with 16:47 to play when a Still layup sparked an 11-3 run that gave the Colonials their first lead since 2-0, 50-49. Sacred Heart came back to tie the game at 54-54, but Robert Morris took over from there. The Colonials went on a 12-0 run over 3:26 to take a 66-54 lead. SHU would only get as close as eight points the rest of the way.
Robert Morris (5-9, 1-0 NEC) shot 50% from the field in the second half and 45.9% for the game. SHU finished at 44.8% from the floor Thursday and outrebounded the Colonials 41-33. Still led Robert Morris with 22 points and seven rebounds. Kavon Stewart added 14 points.
SHU wraps up the 2016 calendar year, and its current homestand, on Saturday when it takes on Saint Francis U at 3:30 p.m.
- RMU's only lead of the first half was 2-0 0:49 in.
- Lopez scored SHU's first seven points to give the Pioneers a 7-2 lead.
- Back-to-back baskets by Sean Hoehn and McKnight put Sacred Heart ahead 17-9 at the 9:43 mark.
- Three-pointers by RMU's Still and Lorenzen Wright, Jr. got the Colonials within two, 25-23, with 5:15 to play.
- The Colonials ended the half on a 9-2 run.
- Thirty of SHU's 35 points in the half came in the paint.
- SHU opened the half on an 11-3 run, as a Buovac three made the score 44-37 with 17:13 to play.
- The Colonials took their first lead since 2-0 at the 12:24 mark when a Clive Allen jumper gave RMU a 50-49 lead.
- SHU was 10-for-12 at the foul line in the second half after making just 2-of-7 free throws in the first half.