PREVIEW: Colonials head to Windy City for a showdown with Flames

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Men’s basketball takes on UIC this weekend. Photo Credit: Ethan Morrison

By Ethan Morrison, Contributor

CHICAGO– Robert Morris (3-3, 2-1 Horizon) will be back on the hardwood for the first time in two weeks this weekend as they hit the road to face UIC (5-4, 2-2) in a two-game series January 15-16 at Credit Union 1 Arena.

Recapping RMU

The Colonials have had problems staying on the court this season due to COVID-19 issues within the program. RMU has not played a game since New Year’s Day where they secured a 67-64 victory over Milwaukee (5-2, 4-1). The second game against the Panthers and their series against IUPUI (1-4, 0-4) last weekend were canceled.

Scouting the Flames

UIC has also had their own struggles with COVID-19 as they returned to action last weekend against Purdue Fort Wayne (4-5, 3-5).

The Flames got off to a fiery start to the season as they won their first three non-conference games of the season. They then dropped the next two games before moving into conference play.

In their first series in conference play, UIC swept Oakland (3-12, 3-5) before getting shut down due to COVID-19 issues. They returned to the court last weekend and got swept by the Mastodons, leading into their matchup with the Colonials.

Players to watch:

AJ Bramah (RMU): The senior has led the way on the offensive side of the ball for the Colonials averaging a conference-leading 21 points-per-game. Bramah has logged 20 or more points in four of the past five games. It will be important for him to continue his dominance against Horizon League opponents this weekend.

Jon Williams (RMU): After missing the last game against Milwaukee due to coronavirus protocols, Williams is looking to hit the ground running against the Flames. On the year, Williams is averaging 11.2 points per game and 5.6 assists per game. In his last three games, the senior has reached double figures in points and is playing some of the best basketball of his collegiate career.

Teyvion Kirk (UIC): Kirk has been a stat-sheet stuffer for the Flames this season, leading the team in points, rebounds, assists, and steals. The junior is averaging 15 points, six rebounds, eight assists, and one steal per game this season. It will be extremely important for Robert Morris to neutralize Kirk this weekend to have success against UIC.

Rob Howard (UIC): The senior forward is averaging 12.4 points per game along with five rebounds per game. Howard is shooting a modest 55% from the field. It will be important for the Colonials frontcourt to be on the lookout for Howard this weekend when he is on the floor.

Prediction

Even though the Colonials have not played for two weeks, I believe that the Colonials will be ready to face off against UIC this weekend. If the defense shows up as they did against the Panthers and the offense continues to perform at a high level, the Colonials should have no problem extinguishing the Flames this weekend.

Robert Morris will come away with the sweep this weekend winning game one 70-65, and game two 74-64.