Coming off their win for IUPUI, the Robert Morris Colonials faced a pretty tough three game stretch during super bowl week. Colonials hosted Detroit Mercy and Oakland at the UPMC Events Center and then would try to avenge their earlier season home loss to the Youngstown State Penguins.
The Colonials faced Detroit Mercy for the first time this season, with their earlier contest canceled due to Covid19 protocols. Coming off a 17-point road win vs IUPUI four days prior, Colonials carried some momentum in the Wednesday night contest. Some of that momentum seemed to subside when Justin Winston was not dressed for the game, he had been playing pretty well as of late so that was a pretty big loss for RMU.
Shooting an abysmal 36% for the first 20 minutes, the Colonials headed to the break trailing by 37-27 and the biggest issue they faced? The same thing that has plagued them much of this season; turnovers. Robert Morris had only five assists to 10 turnovers. Colonials would be outscored 42-35 in the final 20 minutes, ultimately losing in blowout fashion, 79-62.
RMU would welcome Oakland to the UPMC Events Center on Friday where they would try avenge an earlier season blowout loss. Losing 79-61 back in December, this contest was played much closer but again, simple mistakes at the end failed the Colonials. Jamail Cain was an absolute thorn in the side of RMU, scoring a game high 29 points on 10-19 shooting. Oakland scored 79 points, 29 of them coming from Cain; there is your story right there.
Robert Morris was led yet again by Mr. Double-double Kahliel Spear, scoring 14 points and collection 11 boards in the 71-68 loss; more to come on Spear and if you are an RMU fan, you will want to read further.
Back to back home losses is NOT how Andy Toole and his staff imagined this week going, but they faced a great opportunity about an hour down the road at Youngstown State. Trying to avenge a January home 64-60 loss, RMU was faced with a pretty big opportunity to get the sour taste out of their mouth.
A lot has been written about Spear this season by me, as the expectations of him are and should be quite high. He has carried the load much of this season for this team and if they are going to make any noise come March, he has to continue to do so. Boy, Sunday afternoon on Super Bowl Sunday, he did just that.
Trailing 33-28 at the break, it was do or die for Robert Morris. Lose a third straight contest and all but wash away any good graces they have earned over the past 2 weeks OR suck it up, fight and grind out a road win. Spear would yet again lead the way, scoring 27 points on get this, 10-11 shooting and 3-3 from three. When RMU needed him most, Spear put the ball in the basket and carried his teammates across the finish line in victorious fashion, 73-68. Spear has all but solidified his spot as an All Horizon League player, its time the rest of the Colonials take not and follow his lead.
Maybe, just maybe, if Spear can get some support, Robert Morris can wreck a few March dreams in a few weeks. Maybe, but as we have seen far too often with this team, you just simply have no idea what team is going to show up for the start and what team is going to show up the last 5 minutes.