Men’s basketball wins season opener vs. Point Park 75-57

AJ+Bramah+dropped+18+points+as+the+Colonials+defeated+Point+Park+75-57+in+their+season+debut.+Photo+Credit%3A+Ethan+Morrison

AJ Bramah dropped 18 points as the Colonials defeated Point Park 75-57 in their season debut. Photo Credit: Ethan Morrison

By Ethan Morrison, Contributor

MOON TOWNSHIP– After eight months and an additional two weeks of waiting due to coronavirus concerns the Robert Morris men’s basketball team (1-0) was able to step out onto the court at the UPMC Events Center for the first time since the Northeast Conference Championship game against Saint Francis University. The Colonials’ first test of the season was the Point Park Pioneers (0-3) who came to town after getting crushed by Kent State (1-1) 90-41 in their last contest.

There was not much uncertainty regarding RMU’s starting rotation as AJ Bramah, Dante Treacy, Jon Williams, and Charles Bain were all returning starters from last year’s team, but the one question was who would fill the final guard role, and the answer to that question was freshman Enoch Cheeks.

Cheeks, a freshman guard from Providence, R.I., showed early on why Head Coach Andy Toole slotted him in the starting lineup as he smothered the Pioneer shooters and recorded a block in the early minutes of the contest.

The Colonials got off to a hot start going on a 7-0 run to start the game, which forced Point Park’s head coach Joe Lewandowski to call a timeout to stop the bleeding.

By the second media timeout, however, RMU was in full control of the game as they led by 15 points.

Then, the Colonials cooled off a little bit as the Pioneers began to battle and claw their way back into the game. Point Park closed the gap to within seven points with 5:24 remaining in the first half.

Robert Morris then began to gain more ground toward the end of the first half as they took a 42-28 lead into the break.

At the end of the first half, senior forward AJ Bramah led the team with 10 points along with 5 rebounds. For Point Park, junior guard Jesse Calloway led the team with five points and three rebounds.

Overall for RMU, they shot 51% from the field and 40% from beyond the arc. The Colonials also recorded four blocks on the defensive end. As for the Pioneers, they shot 39% from the field and just 25% from deep.

Coming out in the second half Robert Morris got off to a hot start as junior guard Dante Treacy got a quick four points right out of the locker room which both came from inside the point.

RMU continued to increase their lead, stretching it to 18 by the first media timeout in the second half. The Colonials wouldn’t stop there as the lead stretched to 25 points by the second media timeout of the half.

Later in the half freshman forward Pat Suemnick would foul out of the game which cut his night short. Suemnick recorded four points.

Sophomore forward Olisa Ngonadi closed out the game shooting free throws before the Pioneers dribbled out the ball for the remaining seconds of the game.

Bramah ended the night with 18 points along with seven rebounds which was a nice showing for the senior forward in the first game of the season. Treacy also contributed 12 points with three assists.

Ngonadi was the biggest surprise of the night as he had a breakout performance against the Pioneers. In just his fifth year playing basketball, the sophomore from Nigeria was a force down low recording eight points from the floor and five of six from the line for a total of 13 points.

Cameron Wilbon, a guard from Gary, Indiana who missed all of last season with a wrist injury, contributed seven points in the winning effort.

Robert Morris shot 44% from the field and just 26% from downtown. They also shot 66% from the charity stripe.

For Point Park, Jesse Calloway logged 10 points in the loss while the team shot 37% from the field and 25% from behind the arc.

There were times in the game where Robert Morris showed flashes of what the “finished product” of the team could be later on in the season, but there were also some areas that the Colonials could improve both offensively and defensively.

Up next for RMU, they will take a trip down to Morgantown, West Virginia for a date with nationally-ranked #11 West Virginia Mountaineers (3-1). That game is on Wednesday, December 9, at 7:00 p.m on ESPN+.