The Colonials finally ended their seven game road swing Wednesday when they faced off with the Central Michigan Chippewas.
RMU faced off against CMU four times in program history, last of which came in 2019. Colonials come into the game winning the last two matchups with CMU and Wednesday would continue that trend upwards for Robert Morris.
The game did not exactly get off to the most eye popping start with both teams combining for only 6 points at the first media time out. Turnovers, whistles, missed shots, we had it all in the first half, but the one key for RMU was maintaining their lanes and discipline defensively. The Colonials would not allow anything easy for the Chippewas and it began to frustrate them early and often. CMU touts themselves are tough, physical team, but RMU, at least on this night was the tougher team.
Colonials head coach Andy Toole was quoted post game, calling the contest a “rock fight”, which if you is a perfect description. One star of the “rock fight” for RMU was Kahliel Spear, who by the break had already collected ten boards, four assists to go along with four points. Enoch Cheeks, who more and more is coming into his own, paced Robert Morris with 10 points of his own at the break which helped the Colonials lead 32-25. Now, what awaited RMU was finishing, something they have greatly struggled with this season.
Cheeks, Spear and Robert Morris came out and built their lead to ten with 16:03 left, before seemingly going cold yet again. RMU would turn sloppy on both ends of the floor, fighting through a 7-0 run by CMU to tie the game at 39. Just when things seemingly looked bleak for the Colonials, Spear notched his seventh straight game in double figures, scoring 14 in the second half.
One huge positive for RMU was the continued improvement of junior guard Josh Corbin who lit the gym on fire Wednesday, going 7-13 from the field which included going 6 of 11 from three point land. The biggest play of the night had to be with just under four to go, CMU seemingly feeling it, Josh Corbin nailed a big three to bring the Colonials back to a double digit lead; nail meet coffin as RMU wins 71-66.
The story of a Toole coached team is toughness, grit, winning the “hustle plays” and finally, Robert Morris did that for more than just one half. What a way to end a long road trip and head back home.
Coming off a big road win, RMU would welcome the Marshall Thundering Herd to the UPMC Events Center on Saturday with the heard coming in 8-1 on the season. The Herd, picked to finish sixth in the Conference USA coaches poll, comes into the game flying with an eight game win streak would put it to Robert Morris in the first twenty minutes. Marshall held the Colonials to just 6-30 from the field while going 12-26 respectively. This was not exactly the start Toole had in mind for his team, also allowing Taevion Kinsey to dominate for the Herd. Kinsey, going 10-14 from the field would lead all scorers with 26 in 39 minutes of action.
RMU, after only scoring 14 points in the first half, came out with a bit of a purpose in the last twenty going 18-35 and trimming a fourteen point halftime deficit to single digits late in the half. The fight was good to see for Colonials fans, it would have been easy to just roll over after a dreadful start. RMU would also keep the herd to their 2nd lowest point total of the season, but would ultimately fall 69-60.
Robert Morris will now regroup before heading to former NEC bitter Rival Mount St. Marys on Wednesday before coming back to the UPMC Events Center for a three game home stand. With only two non-conference games left in the season, RMU will begin setting its sights on league play.