The Robert Morris University men’s basketball team rose to the challenge and claimed their first win over a Big East program on Tuesday night as they defeated top-seeded St. John’s University 89-78 at Carnesecca Arena in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament.
Senior guard Karvel Anderson reminded everyone why he was the 2014 NEC Player of the Year as he put up 38 points for Robert Morris. Junior forward Lucky Jones contributed 25 points and nine rebounds while senior guard Anthony Myers-Pate had 11 points and eight assists.
The Colonials brought all muskets to bear as they went on a 22-6 run in the first half against the Red Storm. Robert Morris went into the locker room with a 49-27 advantage on the scoreboard.
St. John’s closed the gap to an eight-point deficit with a 24-6 run over 6 1/2 minutes in the second half, but could not complete the comeback over the Colonials.
RMU shot 48 percent from the field on the night, putting up 16 of 32 3-pointers. The Red Storm shot just 37.2 percent from the field.
Junior guard Jamal Branch had a career-best 22 points for St. John’s while sophomore forward/guard Max Hooper contributed a career-high 18 points. Sophomore forward JaKarr Sampson put up 11 points to go along with five rebounds and three assists.
Both squads were shorthanded for the game. Robert Morris junior forward David Appolon injured his foot in the first half and was on the bench with crutches for the second half. Freshman guard Rysheed Jordan of St. John’s was diagnosed with tonsillitis two hours before the contest.
RMU will face Belmont University (25-9, 14-2 Ohio Valley) in the second round of the NIT. The Bruins defeated the Green Bay Phoenix 80-65 in Region 2 action on Tuesday night.