“Winning is hard at any level.” Boy, does this ever feel true for the 2021-22 Colonials. Coming into the game versus old NEC rival St. Francis (PA), RMU sole win this season was against Division III Lancaster Bible College. Finally, on Wednesday, they captured their first Division I win this season behind a breakout performance by Matt Mayers.
Finally, someone other than Rasheem Dunn stepped up. Finally, RMU was able to find some confidence and finally, overcame a bit of a slow start. While Robert Morris ended the first half with a 35-30 lead, things were quite ugly offensively early on in the first half. Thankfully, the Colonials were defensively sound early to help counter the slow shooting, holding SFU to just 11 of 31 from the field in the first half. The Red Flash dictated the tempo early in the first 20 minutes, speeding RMU up and now allowing the Colonials to get into their half court game.
Mayers, who we have all been looking to for just a little bit more, broke out vs the Red Flash for a double double, scoring 16 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Mayers coming out party had to be welcomed by everyone, but not likely more than Dunn. Dunn, who has been a rock for Robert Morris early on this season, can’t continue to be the only source of positivity on this team, someone else needed to step up and tonight, RMU finally got more from Mayers.
Coming out of the break, Robert Morris sprung their 5-point lead with a 20-9 run to lead by 16 points going into the under 12 timeout. Now, here is where things got a little bit interesting, because ya know, nothing is ever easy for RMU. It seemed that for the first time all season, RMU was going to be able to use their energy and recently improved confidence, to finally asset themselves in a game. However, the Red Flash, much to their doing, had other ideas.
SFU was able to fight back and get the deficit to 9 with a little over 9 minutes left in the game, before RMU finally decided to punch back with a powerful follow dunk by Kahliel Spear with 7:30 left. Colonials fans could finally take it easy, sit back and relax, right? NOPE. Robert Morris got a little careless late and allowed the deficit to get to as close at 4, but RMU was able to keep the Red Flash at bay when all was said and done.
The biggest factor in keeping SFU at arms length in the end was the domination by Robert Morris in the paint, outscoring St. Francis 46-22. Finally, RMU was able to dominate inside with Mayers and Cheeks snagging 19 boards between the two of them. But, it all seems to always come back to Dunn and what he does for this team. Up by 4 with around 1 minute left in regulation, Dunn came up clutch again with a big bucket to extend the lead to 6 and finally give Robert Morris fans a good reason to exhale.
RMU would wind up victorious by a 75-67 margin and will head to Rochester, MI to faceoff with Oakland next Thursday evening at 7pm; no more games left versus bottom feeder mid majors; no more Lancaster Bible College. It is time’ build off this win and turn it into a little run. It is time for big boy Horizon League basketball.