Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - For the eighth time in program history and first under fifth-year head coach Andy Toole, Robert Morris is going dancing.
Rodney Pryor led five players in double figures with 17 points, helping the second-seeded Colonels to a 66-63 win over St. Francis-NY to claim the NEC crown and an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament.
Elijah Minnie finished with 14 points, nine rebounds and four blocks and Lucky Jones had 12 points -- none bigger than his two free throws in the final seconds -- for Robert Morris (19-14), which last made the NCAA Tournament in 2010.
St. Francis trailed by three and was out of timeouts after Jones hit his free throws with 13 seconds to play. Terriers' guard Yunus Hopkinson missed an open 3 from the left wing at the other end, then Tyreek Jewell chased down the offensive rebound and got fouled shooting from deep.
Jewell could have tied the game, but he was off the mark on all three of his free throws. Jones then stepped up to the line with a chance to ice it. He missed both free throws as well, and Lowell Ulmer's full-court heave hit back iron and bounced off.
RMU had reached the title game three previous times under Toole and lost all three.
Jewell scored 19 points to lead St. Francis (23-11), and Jalen Cannon finished with 10 points and 12 rebounds.
Kavon Stewart and Marcquise Reed gave 11 and 10 points, respectively, for the Colonials ... St. Francis has never made the NCAA Tournament ... St. Francis won the rebounding margin 46-23 ... Robert Morris has won six straight games heading into Selection Sunday.