The Robert Morris Colonials had a special guest in the house on Friday evening when they hosted Purdue Fort Wayne at the UPMC Events Center. RMU Hall of Famer and men’s Basketball all time great, Tony Lee was in the house as the Colonials we honoring him by adding Lee to their Ring of Honor Friday night. Having Lee in the house proved to maybe spark a little something in the Colonials, because what as about to ensue, “T-Lee” as he is known, surely enjoyed.
Following up their drubbing of IUPUI, the Colonials yet again put on an embarrassing display against Wright State, giving up 101 to the Raiders while watching them knock down 60% of their field goals. Robert Morris yet again proving the doubters right, but now, with an RMU legend coming to town, there was simply no way they could put out that type of effort in front of “ T-Lee,” right?
Purdue Fort Wayne would come into the contest Friday at 4-2 in Horizon League play, Robert Morris at 1-5, again with their only league win coming against IUPUI. The first half would yet again begin with the Colonials coming out slow, falling behind by as much as ten, 25-15 at the 8:49 mark. RMU, like the Jekyll and Hyde team they tend to be, would bounce right back with a quick 10-0, sparked by the trio of Jackson Late, Stephaun Walker and Josh Corbin, to knot the game at 25. A late Jackson Last three would send RMU to the break leading 34-32, and we all awaited what would come of the Colonials for the second half.
Again, with an all-time great in the house, you simply can’t put out the embarrassing displays you have this season, it was time to rally and rally the RMU would do. Yes, Robert Morris would struggle at times and even found themselves trailing by as much as seven, but something seemed different this time. So many times this year, RMU would claw back, only to fall apart in the end. Very few times this season has Robert Morris been able to get consecutive stops on the defensive end when they needed them, tonight, something was different.
After erasing the seven point deficit, RMU was able to keep PFW at arms length, closing 76-75 after a Justice Williams jumper. Jalen Jackson would follow with two free throws to bring it to 78-75 with :15 left and this is where, maybe, JUST maybe, the Colonials season finally takes a turn for a bright future.
After a Stephaun Walker missed three with :08 left, Markeese Hastings would find Josh Corbin, who had been a lynch pin for RMU this evening, would knock down a three to tie the game at 78 with just :03 left. Corbin, who would lead all scorers Friday with a game high 28 would bring the Colonials to OT, now it was time for another star to emerge.
Stephaun Walker, Jackson Last and Justice Williams would jump RMU out to an 85-83 lead, Jalen Jackson would knot the contest at 85 after a pair of free throws with 1:49 left. Josh Corbin would again come up clutch, knocking down a pair of free throws to bring the game to a stalemate at 88. A late turnover by PFWs Quinton Morton-Jackson would allow RMU one more play to pull off a stunner. Jackson Last would have the ball under his own basket. Last launched a full court pass that would somehow find the hands of Markeese Hastings, who knocked down “the short heard around the moon” to pull of a thriller, 91-88.
The Colonials would have four score in double figures, again with Corbin leading the way with 28, followed by Jackson Last with 17, Justice Williams 16 and the hero of the evening, Hastings with 15.
Robert Morris will conclude their home stand on Wednesday when they host Detroit Mercy at the UPMC Events Center. The Colonials have a chance to string some positivity together here with their next two upcoming games, Detroit Mercy and IUPUI, before facing off against Cleveland State. Is RMU finally going to turn a light of positivity of a stormy season into a beautiful rainbow?