No Robert Morris, North Florida players have been in NCAA
DAYTON, Ohio (AP) Lucky Jones scored 21 points, including a key free throw, Rodney Pryor had 20 and Marcquise Reed 19 to lead Robert Morris back from a 13-point second-half deficit to beat North Florida 81-77 on Wednesday night in the First Four.
The Colonials (20-14), who won the Northeast Conference Tournament to get into the field as a 16 seed, now meet top-seeded Duke in the second round on Friday in Charlotte.
As the final seconds ticked off, jubilant fans chanted, ''We want Duke! We want Duke!''
Elijah Minnie added 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Colonials, who scored 21 points off North Florida's 19 turnovers.
Beau Beech finished with 28 points for the Ospreys (23-12), champs of the Atlantic Sun Tournament, but didn't have a field goal over the last 11:18. Jalen Nesbitt added 14 points and Dallas Moore 13 for North Florida, making its first trip to the NCAA Tournament.
Beech, who had 13 at the break, hit two 3s to start the second half, increasing an eight-point advantage at the break to 41-27.
But the Colonials, who failed to score for 4:31 of the first half, turned the tables on the Ospreys. In an 11-0 run, they kept North Florida off the board for 4:44.
From then on, the game was an end-to-end battle.
Robert Morris took its first lead of the half on Jones' jumper from the top of the key with 7:29 left.
With the teams tied later, Reed - a freshman - drove the lane and spun in a left-handed layup and was fouled with 3:49 left. He missed the free throw, but Jones was there to tip in the miss for a 70-66 lead.
Pryor then added a 15-foot jumper and Kavon Stewart hit a free throw to push the lead to 73-66 with 2 minutes left.
The Ospreys drew within 78-76 with 10 seconds left on two free throws by Trent Mackey, but Stewart stepped to the line and made both to seal the win.
After Beech's foul shot, Jones - the Colonials' third-leading scorer who comes off the bench - hit a free throw with less than a second left to end the Osprey's hopes.
Robert Morris: The Colonials were making their eighth trip to the NCAA, but first since 2010. Their last trip was brief, but memorable.
The 15th-seeded Colonials nearly knocked off No. 2-seeded Villanova in the opening round in Providence. They led 55-47 with 4:19 left, but mistakes down the stretch resulted in a 73-70 overtime loss.
North Florida: Road game? No big deal. For financial reasons (hefty guarantees to play at bigger schools) the Ospreys played 13 of their first 16 games on the road. They traveled to nine states and Mexico this season.
Robert Morris: Top-seeded Duke (29-4) on Friday at 7:10 p.m. in Charlotte.
North Florida: The three top scorers are back, with the major loss Nesbitt, a 6-6 senior.
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