Frustration, anger, anxiety; all emotions that I am sure are running ramped in the RMU locker room right now. Colonials faced two more road challenges in Horizon League play this week, squaring off against Green Bay and Milwaukee.
Thursday, the Colonials faced a Green Bay team to open Horizon League play for the 2021-22 season. RMU opened the game hitting 4 of their first 5 from deep, which was a much better start than their previous games. Defensively, the Colonials came out in a zone defense, which to RMU fans, was a welcomed sight. RMU was able to hold the Phoenix to 37% from three point land, while absolutely getting dominated inside, allowing 22 points in the paint.
Turnovers kill and they were a major pain for Bobby Mo Thursday evening. Robert Morris ended the first half with only 4 assists to 10 turnovers; that wont win you a YMCA league game let alone one versus a division 1 opponent. The second half saw much of the same from the Colonials, way too many “one and done” trips offensively and seemingly missing every single shot they took around the rim.
RMU was hard to watch offensively in the second half, very little movement and Kahliel Spear, someone who RMU plans to lean on this season, had 5 points off 1/8 shooting with 3:30 remaining. Losing 70-58, RMU had to quickly move their focus on to the Milwaukee Panthers and the return of Patrick Baldwin, Jr.
Bobby Mo, still searching for that ever elusive first win, had to know they were going to have their hands full Saturday afternoon. Baldwin, Jr., returning from missing the last 3 games due to injury, made his presence known early and often. One of the nations top recruits coming in, he turned down offers from power 5 schools, such as Duke, to have the opportunity to play for his father. Coming into the game versus the Colonials, Baldwin, Jr. was averaging 15 points per game but reached a new career high quickly; scoring 19 in the first 15 minutes.
One very promising aspect from the first half was the fact, despite the play of the Panthers star, RMU hung in there after each blow. Kam Farris hit a huge three right before halftime, giving the Colonials a one-point edge at the break. It is early in the season, but the way the game was transpiring, Baldwin Jr. seemingly not missing a shot, but this would be an important second half for the psyche of the Colonials, could they with stand more punches?
Farris, who has had injury problems of his own this season, was injured early on in the second half and to make matters worse, Spear picked up 2 quick fouls, giving him 3 for the game and forcing coach Toole to find him a seat on the Bench. RMU would have to lean on Rasheem Dunn with Spear and Farris out, and he kept them alive for the most part but Bobby Mo simply did not have enough.
The Panthers captured their first Horizon League win by closing out the Colonials with a 77-69 victory. Yes, it’s another loss and the frustration has to be mounting, but this one, this one felt different. Robert Morris played much of the second half short handed with Farris out due to injury and Spear finding a seat on the bench after two quick fouls, but they would not make things easy for coach Pat Baldwin, Sr. and Milwaukee. After how things ended their two previous games, this is something they can take and build off of.
Colonials finally get to head home to Peoples Court for two home games this coming week, facing Lancaster Bible Wednesday and Florida Gulf Coast on Saturday. RMU can build off their loss Saturday, there was effort, there was fight, now they need to transform that into wins.