Back to the drawing board; RMU drops second straight, four of last five

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Just when things started to look on the “up and up” for the Robert Morris Colonial men’s basketball team this season, it appears coach Andy Toole and his staff are headed back to the drawing board.

RMU rumbled through the Christmas season with a three game win streak, only to drop four of the last five and the last two in very, very disappointing fashion. Following a blowout loss at Youngstown State, the Colonials rebounded with a victory at home against IUPUI and would face back to back tougher road games .

Robert Morris began the road trip at Oakland on Thursday in a matchup of two of decent Horizon League teams, but only one team showed they deserved that title early on. The Golden Grizzlies came out of the gates with a 13-0 run which was stopped by, you guessed it, Enoch Cheeks, but the run lasted almost six minutes. Oakland’s Rocket Watt would follow the run stopper three with a four-point play of his own to bring the lead 17-3. The dynamic duo of Cheeks and Kahliel Spear were not about to let this one get too far away, cutting the lead to 23-17 at the under eight timeout.

RMU I guess decided to finally dig in on the defensive end and kept the Golden Grizzlies scoreless for almost three minutes. The energy felt like it totally shifted to the Colonials when Spear knocked down his second three of the half to cut Oakland’s lead to 25-24, which he then followed by a great hustle play to for a missed dunk. The Grizz would lose their mind a bit on the defensive end late, fouling Cheeks on a three pointer in which he knocked down all free throws to give RMU their first lead 27-25.

The story of the first half however, was Oakland’s Blake Lampman who seemingly could not miss. Lampman, who would knock down a total of six three pointers was the answer each time Robert Morris pushed the tempo. Some would argue Trey Townsend was the star for the Golden Grizzlies, and he would end with a game high 30 on 10-of-19 shooting, but it just seemed he was a thorn that RMU could not get rid of.

Robert Morris has faced many situations similar to this one this season and quite frankly the last few seasons. They fight back, claw back and regain momentum only to fall apart late in the second half. This one felt winnable for RMU and one that you felt, if they could leave with a victory, could potentially swing their season.

A massive four point play by, yet again you guessed it, Cheeks, gave the Colonials a 65-63 lead late. And yes, you guessed it, RMU would again fall apart late, allowing Oakland to go on a 6-0 run to end the game and pull away 69-65. This game was basically a story of four players, Cheeks, Spear, Townsend and Lampman. Those four combined for 89 of the games 134 points. We know the duo for Robert Morris is special, but boy, they simply need more from the supporting cast. You are not going to win many games, let alone road games, getting three points from Josh Corbin who was 1-of-9 on the afternoon.

Colonials looked to rebound Saturday when they headed to Detroit to face off against Detroit Mercy. The story of this game was the three ball, which the Titans knocked down 17 (!!!!) from deep. RMU went from dealing with Lampman and Townsend to Antoine Davis, who was absolutely incredible Saturday, scoring 41 points on 15-of-26 shooting while also collecting six boards. The Titans would put up 87 points, but Davis scoring close to half clearly was the difference maker.

Even with Davis going off, Robert Morris was able to hold a lead for parts of the second half when Spear put RMU in front 49-46 with a layup only to be answered by a 9-0 run by Detroit Mercy. AJ Oliver was the springboard for the 9-0 run knocking down a pair of three balls, which would give the Titans the lead, one in which they’d not relinquish.

Detroit Mercy came into the game on a four game losing streak, Toole, said, through rmucolonials.com, “it was our third game this week, I thought we didn’t have the energy required to be successful”

Where does Toole and his Colonial team go from here? They have a few days off, but things will not get any easier with two more road games this week when they head to Wisconsin to face off against Milwaukee and Green Bay.

RMU is not home until the end of this month, they have lost four of the last five with two more road games staring them in the face. They have to figure something out, they have to simply get more from guys not named Cheeks and Spear. If you are going to continue to start guys like Jackson Last as well, you better start getting more from him. This is Division I basketball, not a pick up game at your local YMCA, these dudes can play and Robert Morris needs to find a group that can feed off each other, not reply on two to do it all.

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