The see-saw season for the Robert Morris Colonials continued on this week after they saw an abrupt end to their three-game winning streak as they headed off to face the Oakland Golden Grizzlies and looked to put the finishing touches on a season sweep of Detroit Mercy.
Coming into the Oakland game, the Colonials saw an abrupt end of the season high three game winning streak, giving away yet another game late at Cleveland State. Coming into the contest at 8-3 in league play, this would be one of the toughest tests for Robert Morris to date. RMU is 2-8 in their last 10 games vs Oakland, and winless against them at the O’Rena all time. That is something that would NOT change this go around, either.
The Grizz have one of the better shooters/scorers in the country in Blake Lampman and he would showcase that early and often. Lampman would be would responsible for 50% of Oakland’s first half offensive output, scoring 20 points, nine of which were the first Golden Grizzly points, coming int he first three and a half minutes in. RMU, lead yet again by Markeese Hastings and Justice Williams, would keep the Colonials within 10 at the break, trailing 40-30.
The Colonials, who love to run hot and cold on both ends of the floor, seemed to be on ice for a majority of this one, as even being down 10 at the break felt more like 20-plus. Robert Morris would only knock down 13 of its 33 field goal attempts, including shooting 4-for-14 from three and missing all four free throws they would attempt in the first 20 minutes. Factor the lackluster offensive output and combine that will the disorganization on the defensive end, allowing Lampman to essentially do whatever he and Oakland chose, you could see the writing on the wall in this one.
The Colonials would put together a brief run in the latter twenty minutes, with TJ Wainwright, pulling RMU as close as they’d get this evening, within 7 with a little of 7 minutes to play. Lampman and Jake Gohlke would respond with two more threes and help to put the finishing touches on this one. The Golden Grizzlies would ultimately pull away, willing 87-72. The only thing that really kept this one from a total blowout, was Oakland shooting 14-21 from the free throw line, which both teams would struggle in that aspect in this one, combing to go 20-32.
As mentioned, this one would be the toughest test for Robert Morris season to date, what is important here for Andy Toole and his Colonials is to to stop the two game snowball and they would have a quick turnaround with a chance to do so.
RMU would look to avenge some anger and frustration against the still winless Detroit Mercy Titans and sweep the season series. The previous contest would see multiple overtime’s which Robert Morris would obviously come out victorious, but thankfully in this one, for RMU fans, that stress was nonexistent. Josh Corbin and Stephaun Walker would make this contest about the two of them and help to carry the Colonials Saturday afternoon.
In saying that, the Titans, are led by Jayden Stone and Marcus Tankersley, who if you recall in the prior contest, gave Robert Morris nightmares. This one felt like it had more of a two-on-two flow, with Walker and Corbin vs. Tankersley and Stone. The four would combine for 90 of the games total 142 points, all four scoring in the 20s. Stone would lead all scorers with 25, but what was more impressive was, he would only knock down one three in this game.
What ultimately would help the Colonials in this one was their almost 3:1 offensive output inside, scoring 28 in the paint to Detroit Mercy’s 10. Walker, who would lead the Colonials in scoring with 21, would foul out late in second half, but would end the game shooting 9-11, pulling down seven rebounds, on an afternoon where the Colonials were in much need of a spark.
RMU now gets the chance to head back home to the UPMC Events Center for two games, hosting Green Bay, who sits tied atop the league with Oakland and Milwaukee, who sits in fifth. The Colonials yet again find themselves towards the cellar, sitting ninth at 5-7. If Robert Morris can find a way to win these next two at home, one of which coming against a shocking “Cinderella” type season from Green Bay, they could see themselves jump up a bit.
March is getting closer and closer, but right now, the RMU Colonial Men’s Basketball program just kind of still feels below mediocre and that is a problem. Winning a few games at home could do wonders for the mentality of this program, specially with the opponents who are in front of them.