Shooters, often inexplicably, have nights where everything feels right, where the basket appears bigger and where seemingly every shot, from the moment it leaves their hands, feels like it’s going in.
Four days removed a 5-for-17 performance in a 38-point loss to Kentucky, Karvel Anderson had one of those games for Robert Morris – one that, by the end of the night, managed to make a small bit of history.
Anderson scored 24 points and tied his own single-game home record with eight 3-pointers as the Colonials rebounded from the lopsided defeat to the Wildcats and held on for a 88-81 victory against Texas-Arlington Thursday night in the Charles Sewall Center.
“Sometimes, you really can’t take credit for anything,” Anderson said. “It’s just one of those nights.”
The senior guard made eight of his 11 field goal attempts, 10 of which came from beyond the 3-point arc. With his performance Thursday, he has scored at least 20 points in three of the team’s five games this season.
Led by two 3-pointers from Anderson, Robert Morris jumped out to a 14-0 lead and held the Mavericks (2-4) scoreless through the opeing 3:09. That advantage would later get cut to six points, but it was extended back to 10 by halftime.
In the game’s first 20 minutes, Anderson made six of his seven 3-point attempts, matching the number of field goals the Colonials (3-2) made as a team in the first half of the loss to Kentucky.
However, much of that early momentum from Anderson stalled in the second half as Texas-Arlington clawed its way back into the game.
Riding a hot shooter of their own in guard Reger Dowell, the Mavericks began the second half on a 14-6 run and never trailed by more than eight for the remainder of the game.
Nursing a two-point edge with 2:23 left, Robert Morris scored 11 of the game’s final 16 points and made nine of its final 10 free throws to secure the win.
It was an uneven performance from the Colonials, one in which they got off to a strong start only to see their lead dissipate, but for a team with seven newcomers that’s still looking for some sort of rhythm, it was able to get the best possible result – a win.
“We definitely find ways to make it interesting,” Robert Morris coach Andy Toole said. “There are going to be times this year where we’re going to have guys in situations they haven’t been in before where we’re going to have to help them through it.”
Along with Anderson, three other Robert Morris players scored in double figures, a group led by forward Lucky Jones, who scored 15 points and had 10 rebounds.
Dowell, who entered the game as one of the top 20 scorers in Division I at 24.8 points per game, finished with a game-high 26 points (on 22 shots), 21 of which came in the second half.
But, even though Dowell had the biggest scoring numbers of any player on the court Thursday night, it was Anderson who made the biggest difference for a team in need of a win.
“I know Dowell had 26 points, but my man to the right, he showed him up tonight,” Jones said, motioning to Anderson after the game. “It was a back-and-forth confrontation, but when you’re on the losing team and you think you have to do everything by yourself, even if you wanted to shoot 20 shots a night, he still looks for his team.
“That’s the best part about him.”