Stephan Hawkins is finally starting to figure things out, and had the key play in what turned into a runaway win for the Colonials tonight in the consolation game of the NIT season tip-off here in Pittsburgh.
Robert Morris led 47-44 during a media timeout with just over eleven minutes to play when guard Coron Williams went to the line. On Fordham's next possession, Hawkins ended the threat with a blocked shot; five minutes later, Hawkins tipped in a missed three-pointer by Karvel Johnson to complete a 12-0 run that put RMU up for good.
"I think every time he goes out there he's going to keep getting more and more comfortable," RMU coach Andy Toole said. "I think (that play) was huge for the team, and it's huge for him too."
The win was a nice change for the Colonials after being beaten handily by Rider and Lehigh in their first two games of the season, and Toole talked about how that start woke his team up, while changing little about their approach.
"It isn't like we completely changed our game plan overnight," Toole said. "But I think I got their attention. Maybe they got tired of what was going on out there and suddenly were more in tune to what we were trying to teach them."
Senior guard Velton Jones agreed with Toole's sentiment, and pointed out the team's change in mindset that had to occur to have that success.
"We thought we were working hard early on in the season," Jones said. "But then those two games showed we weren't working hard at all. We stepped it up and got the win, and it feels good, but this one is over and now it's on to the next."
That next Jones refers to is a trip to face Xavier on Saturday.