The IUPUI Jaguars gave the Robert Morris Colonials a run for their money Tuesday night in the opening round of the Horizon League men’s basketball tournament, but their upset bid fell just short as the Jags fell 67-64 – bringing their 2022-23 campaign to a close.
IUPUI trailed 60-48 with 3:18 remaining in the game but a furious 16-4 run ended in a 64-64 tie with just 10 seconds left. Jlynn Counter was the catalyst for the comeback, scoring 13 of his game-high 25 points during that final stretch.
At multiple points in the contest it seemed like RMU might be poised to run away with it but each time the Jags answered the bell and refused to go quietly into the Suburban Pittsburgh night.
The Jaguars never led and trailed by as many as 14. The tie at 64 was the first tie since the opening tip-off.
But Michael Green III responded by hitting a dramatic 25-plus foot three with 2.1 seconds left, letting the air out of IUPUI’s sails and thwarting their upset aspirations.
IUPUI overcame a slow start offensively and ended the game shooting 45 percent from the field, including 4 of 10 from three-point range. The Jags also out-rebounded the Colonials 41-35. But RMU hit 7 threes and made 8 more free throws (on 10 more attempts), which proved to be the difference in this thriller.
The Jaguars had four in double-figures. The aforementioned Counter had 25, DJ Jackson and Chris Osten each had 13, and Vincent Brady II had 10.
Kahliel Spear had 17 points, 11 rebounds, 4 blocks and 3 steals for Robert Morris.
IUPUI finishes the season 5-27, a two game improvement over last season. The Jaguars doubled their conference wins and tripled their win total against Division I opponents.
These are admittedly small gains but bear in mind that the Jaguars were completive in most of their League games down the stretch. This team is not far from the middle of the pack in the Horizon League and they have a solid nucleus to build around.
I sincerely hope this IUPUI team sticks around. Crenshaw is building something real.— Matt from HRT (@horizoneMatt) March 1, 2023
This will be an important offseason for Matt Crenshaw and company as they look to keep building up the program toward bigger and better things.