After battling the Dayton Flyers to the bitter end, Robert Morris would spend their Thanksgiving in Savannah, GA playing in the Hostilo Hoops Community Classic.
The Colonials would face off against Mercer, Evansville and South Alabama during the three game tournament, playing three games in three days, bringing the young Colonials back to their AAU days.
First up was a tilt with the Mercer Bears on Black Friday, where RMU was trying to find a steal of their own. Coming off a pretty dreadful offensive performance against Dayton, Robert Morris would not exactly change that narrative early on. RMU really struggled again from the field, hitting only eleven of their first thirty shots, missing all ten three pointers.
Defensively, it felt like The Colonials held their own, holding the Bears to only 29 points, but allowing them to go three of five from three. RMU would hold Mercer to 42% from the field in the first twenty minutes, which somehow found them only trailing by two, 29-27 at the break. Robert Morris would close the first half shooting 36%.
The final twenty minutes seem to show the Colonials finding themselves a little offensively, even after a bit of a sluggish start to the half where they would go without a made field goal for over five minutes. The Bears would build their lead all the way up to seventeen after a made three by Kamar Robertson.
The most eye popping stat from this one? RMU missing their first SIXTEEN (!) attempts from three, ending the game a dreadful one of seventeen.
Robert Morris would rally, like they seemingly do when games feel out of hand, and would end up falling 72-66 and would move their focus to Evansville who would await them Saturday.
Now, after fighting back Friday night, how would RMU respond against the Evansville Aces? Well, the Colonials surely seemed to come out with more of a purpose on the offensive end, building as much as a fourteen point lead in the first half. Robert Morris would shoot 50% from three and thirteen of twenty six from the field in the first half, which is far more positive than their two previous contests. Evansville would really struggle, shooting only 31% and hitting only ten of thirty two in the first twenty minutes. RMU headed to the locker room with a much deserved, an earned, 37-25 advantage.
Now, it’s been another brutal start for the Colonials to the 2022-23 season, but this was a game against a similar opponent, not a West Virginia Wesleyan or schools of that nature. How would RMU respond, could they finish one off, with a complete 40-minute performance?
It is the season of giving and boy did the Colonials give away this one like a dollar bill in a Salvation Army kettle. Coming out with a twelve point advantage, you want to keep the foot on the gas, as one cold stretch can put you behind the eight ball really quickly. RMU would not find the bottom of the net until 9:40 left in the game when Josh Corbin hit from inside the paint; that’s over TEN MINUTES with no points.
Things would only get worse there, as Robert Morris would only connect on six shots total in the final twenty minutes, going six of twenty three from the field, one of seven from three. Evansville did not exactly set the net on fire, making only 11 of 26, 4-of-10 from three. RMU scored a total of 16 points in the final 20 minutes, where they still, somehow, had a lead late.
Robert Morris put the rock in the hands of Michael Green III late and well, it was regrettable. Green III would miss the front end of a one and one with :32 seconds left and then Blaise Beauchamp drilled a three to put the Aces ahead 54-53 with :16 left. Green III would seal the Colonials fate with a dreaded turnover, the final of the fifteen committed by RMU. What a nightmare finish for Andy Toole and gang, sheesh.
RMU would end the three game tournament with a clash with South Alabama Sunday afternoon, finishing the three games in three day stretch. After the demoralizing loss on Saturday, how would Toole and his team respond?
Well, this one never really felt close, even though the Colonials only trailed by seven at half time. Isaiah Moore and Kevin Samuel would torture RMU for a combined 51 points on 22/33 shooting. South Alabama would end the contest with four players in double figures and Samuel collecting a double-double with twelve boards.
Robert Morris was paced by the same cast of characters, Corbin with a team-high 19 points, Green III with 17 and Kahliel Spear with 16. Sunday was not exactly the prettiest picture defensively by RMU, allowing South Alabama to shoot nearly 59% from the field and falling 84-70.
I bet Toole and Robert Morris can’t wait to get the heck out of Savannah, where they will now head back to Dayton to face Wright State on Thursday and Northern Kentucky on Saturday.
Time for league play and in a league like the Horizon League, this is where your money is made. Non conference matters, but RMU could Wright (pun intended) a lot of wrongs with a solid performance Thursday night.