The Robert Morris Colonials (15-13, 9-6) defeated the Bryant Bulldogs (3-25, 2-13) Thursday night 83-60 at the A.J. Palumbo Center at Duquesne University.
The Colonials forced 13 turnovers even though Bryant scored early and often in the first half. A surge late in the first half by Robert Morris helped the Colonials pull ahead. Robert Morris outscored Bryant 37-28 in the second half and the Bulldogs shot only 30.6% from the field and 5 committed turnovers in the second half.
“I thought our guys did a great job defensively from about the eleven minute mark of the first half, all the way through the rest of the game,” said Robert Morris head coach Andy Toole. “Bryant came out and made some shots early…fortunately, we were able to turn the tide a little bit.”
After scoring 23 points in a win against Mount St. Mary’s, Brandon Carroll was held to just 8 points in the game.
The Bulldogs entered the game at last place in the NEC, but with a win against Mount St. Mary’s in their last game. Bryant started the game with a 6-2 lead until Dachon Burke drained a three-point shot from the corner. The score was 9-8 Bryant at the first media timeout with 15:31 remaining in the first half. Bryant’s Bosko Kostur and Robert Morris’ Matty McConnell traded three-point shots before the media timeout.
Bryant’s Tanner Johnson drained a shot from behind-the-arc and Hunter Ware made a layup before the Colonials’ David Cole grabbed an offensive rebound and made a layup to make the score 20-14 Bryant before the second media timeout. The Colonials added another point after Koby Thomas converted 1-of-2 free throws from the line.
With 9:13 remaining in the first half, an injury timeout was called when Bryant’s Ikenna Ndugba was accidently elbowed in the head. Burke went coast-to-coast with the rebound and went and converted a layup to cut Bryant’s lead to 23-21.
Robert Morris tied up the game with 8:12 remaining in the first and after an athletic block by the Colonials’ Ronnie Gombe, the Bulldogs would later convert 1-of-2 free throws from the free-throw line to make it 24-23 Bryant before a media timeout with 7:56.
Out of the media timeout, Koby Thomas gave RMU their first lead of the game with 7:56 after converting both free throws to make the score 25-24. On the next offensive possession, Thomas would convert two more free throws to make the score 27-24.
A three-point basket by the Colonials’ Jon Williams and a layup by Charles Bain assisted by Jon Williams made the score 34-26 Robert Morris and forced Bryant to use a timeout.
A put-back layup by Charles Bain, another three-point basket by Jon Williams, and an emphatic slam dunk by Dachon Burke forced Bryant to use another 30-second timeout with 3:53 remaining in the first half.
Robert Morris took their largest lead of the game into halftime with the score 46-32. In a game that did not look to be the Colonials’ favor early, the Colonials battled back at the end of the first half to be up by 14 points. Koby Thomas led the Colonials in scoring with 11 points after the first 20 minutes. He made seven free-throws in the half. Seven of the eight Colonials that saw minutes in the first half scored at least two points.
The Colonials’ came out of the half and were a little sloppy, committing almost as many turnovers in the first three minutes than in the entire first half, but still found ways to score, thanks to a three-pointer by Matty McConnell and a few layups by Burke. After the first media timeout of the second half, Robert Morris led Bryant 53-38.
Bryant never seemed to want to want to go away, with Brandon Carroll converting an and-1 to cut the score to 55-45, but Burke answered with two layups to make the score 59-45.
Robert Morris continued to force turnovers and bad shots and led the Bryant Bulldogs 75-56 with 4:57 remaining in the second half. After a three-point basket by Dachon Burke and a layup on the fast break by Koby Thomas, RMU increased their lead to 80-56.
The Colonials were able to substitute in walk-on players Nick Castelveter and Seth Rouse for the final few minutes of the game, exciting the crowd and bench as the walk-on players attempted to score.
Sophomore guard Dachon Burke put together another strong game, scoring 27 points on 11-of-14 shooting, including 4-of-5 from 3-point range. Freshman forward Koby Thomas tallied 15 points and grabbed 8 rebounds. Freshman point guard Jon Williams had 11 points and 7 assists.
Dachon Burke continues to shine for the Colonials this season. Andy Toole has praised Burke the last two seasons. “He is making good choices on what shots to take and what shots not to take.”
The win extends Robert Morris’ winning streak to two and the Colonials take on Central Connecticut State Saturday afternoon at the A. J. Palumbo Center.