Colonials ring in new year with conference split

Photo courtesy of Robert Morris Athletics

Cheeks tosses in career high performance, Spear joins 1k club

Andy Toole and the RMU Colonials ended the final week of 2022 by splitting Horizon league games with IPFW and Cleveland State this past week. The Colonials welcomes PFW to the UPMC Events Center Thursday, where junior guard Enoch Cheeks tallied a career high 24 points in the Colonials 75-70 win over the Mastodons.

The victory was the third straight for RMU and moved them to 2-1 in league play and 7-7 overall on the season that has been already filled with ups and downs. This performance from Cheeks however, feels like it could create many more “special” moments to come in 2023, and one came in this game. Yes, Cheeks rolled to 24 points, but the second half was maybe the best showing he has put out this season. With the game tied at 45, he fed freshman guard TJ Wainwright on back to back buckets to put the Colonicals ahead 50-45, then Cheeks buried a three of his own with just under 5 minutes to play to put RMU ahead for good.

Robert Morris got in the “holiday spirit” of sharing by dishing out 20 assists on their 27 made field goals, with Cheeks having 6 of the 20. There were many positives coming out of this one, with Cheeks tallying his twelfth straight double figure game and Spear joining the 1k points club.

The Colonial would next face off with Horizon league stud CSU on New Year’s Eve, wrapping up their three game home stand and the 2022 calendar year. This would be a game RMU would really have to focus on taking care of the basketball, as the Vikings loves to frustrate teams. And they would do just that to Robert Morris.

This one got off to a choppy start for RMU as they only connected on seven of their first 25 shots from the field to start the game, which included an abysmal 0-for-8 from three-point land. Even on an afternoon full of struggles, the Colonials were yet again paced by “Batman and Robin” in Cheeks and Spear. The two would combine for 37 of RMU’s 54 points on Saturday with 18 and 19 respectively. The next best contributor was Matt Mayers, chipping in with six points. Green III and Wainwright tossing in a disappointing combined six points is the one area you can look at in this one. You have to think if Robert Morris gets anything close to an average showing from either Green or Wainwright, the Colonials pull this one out.

What can you learn from this one as someone who follows RMU and has their hopes on a successful season? RMU is currently led by Cheeks and Spear, which is fine but for anything more to happen, Coach Toole is going to need a lot more for numerous guys. Stephaun Walker gave Robert Morris 10 boards but only two points, Jackson Last tossed in three on 1-of-6 shooting and Josh Corbin was held scoreless.

As mentioned earlier, the one thing Cleveland State loves to do is turn you over, which they did 17 times to RMU. Green and Last combined for seven, Cheeks and Spear combined for seven as well. You can live with the latter, but the former is hard to live with when only getting five combined points.

Robert Morris has found their “yin and yang,” now it’s time for the supporting cast to start showing up. If RMU has any plans on making a run this winter and into spring, Cheeks and Spear can’t be the only two filling the box score.

The Colonials are off until Thursday when they head to face off again Youngstown State in Youngstown, OH.

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