Colonials take 6th straight loss to end regular season play

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Boy oh boy, what a nightmare finish to the 2023-24 Horizon League season for the Robert Morris Colonials. Andy Toole and crew, coming into this weekends finale, losers of five straight and not having won since February 10th when they took down Milwaukee at home, looking for some glimmer of hope as they head into Conference tournament action.

Things have been rocky as mentioned this entire season and at least for a brief moment on Saturday, appeared to MAYBE get a tad better, but just like most games this season, the Colonials just showed again that maybe, they still don’t quite have it too compete at this level?

The Colonials, coming in averaging a shade of 14 points in defeat the last five games, jumped out to an early lead Saturday, to yet again, seem to fall asleep at the wheel and see Purdue Fort Wayne throw a 17-3 run at them. Previously, when these two teams faced off, it was tightly fought contest that went to overtime, where the Colonials would of course falter, 91-88, but at least RMU showed a little more want to and desire in that one.

RMU would be. Held together in the first half but your normal cast of characters from this season, Josh Corbin and Justice Williams, who were able to help RMU keep it a single digit game at the break, trailing 38-32. The second half however, began and went just as the first half did with RMU coming out early and getting as close at 43-41 before PFW would throw their second big run at the Colonials and eventually put this one to bed. Yes, you read that correctly and if you do the math, PFW would go on two combined runs of 17-3 and 18-1 to put RMU away, that’s 35-4 over that span. My question still remains, at the division 1 level, HOW does this continue to happen to a team?

As most of our readers know and if you don’t, I am not sure how you haven’t picked up on this yet, but I come from deep ties to the RMU program. I know what this program used to be about, what this program used to take pride in. After watching the same story, season after season, albeit a shorter story to this person in the Horizon League, but nonetheless, this is beyond discouraging. Head Coach Andy Toole has had great success at RMU after taking over for Mike Rice in 2011 and RMU needed to get out of the NEC to set their sites on bigger and better things. But was this really at all what they dreamt of?

The Colonials finished the 2023-24 Horizon League Regular Season with a 6-14 record, their second worst regular season since joining the league for the 2020-21 season where they went 3-12, dealing with a few cancellations and issues that season related to COVID-19. Their best league record came last season, 2022-23 when they finished 10-10 and even won a game in the Conference tournament and took Cleveland State to the wire in the second round.

Now, there has been chatter about Andy Tooles future at RMU, which I will not comment on at this time as everything is simply just a rumor and knowing what I know about Andy, he’s not at all OK with this and neither is RMU. I do believe Andy is still the right man to lead the Colonials, but what is missing you ask? That appears to still be the remaining unanswered question. This school used to take PRIDE in their basketball program, the students used to show out for games. Is there something missing in the connection between the athletic department and the student body? In my opinion, I do truly think so. RMU has always been a big “commuter” school, but still, when I was there it was but things were just different.

The regular season is behind us all and the new, the best season is just beginning. One and done from here on out and yes, even though RMU, losses of six straight now by an average of 15.4, still have an opportunity, albeit a dim one. RMU will get their chance at some revenge quickly as they will again, for the third time this season, faceoff against Purdue Fort Wayne on Tuesday. After taking them to overtime in the first matchup before getting dominated on Saturday night, I fully expect a bounce bank performance on Tuesday. Will RMU win the game? That I can’t answer for you, but knowing what I know about Andy Toole, in these types of environments, I fully trust the Colonials will bounce back. They can’t end their season with seven straight losses, right? RIGHT?

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