Colonials fall in OT after Jon Williams buzzer-beater three in regulation


Jon Williams is embraced by AJ Bramah as they celebrate one of his two buzzer-beaters on the night. Photo Credit: Tyler Gallo

By Ethan Morrison, Assistant Sports Editor

MOON TOWNSHIP, Pa.– It was a back and forth battle between Robert Morris (3-10, 2-8 Horizon) and Youngstown State (9-10, 5-10) throughout the game Friday night at the UPMC Events Center. It was a rollercoaster of a game for the Colonials which saw two buzzer-beating three-point shots from Jon Williams culminating in an overtime thriller, but RMU once again fell in overtime, dropping the game by a score of 84-76.

Head coach Andy Toole said after the game, “A very frustrating loss. We battled but we weren’t able to make the plays and the stops, and it is really frustrating. We are trying to continue to fight, work and stay together but it’s a challenge for sure.”

Early on, the Colonials got off to a quick start thanks to a Jon Williams three-point jumper in the first possession of the game. Senior AJ Bramah did not take long to get his hands into the action as he slammed one home to give the Colonials a 5-0 lead.

By the under-16 media timeout, the Colonials were up 11-4.

The Penguins got right back into the game, however, thanks to some excellent shots from the perimeter courtesy of Darius Quisenberry and Will Dunn to give the ‘Guins their first lead of the night.

RMU would answer back with a triple of their own by Jon Williams to retake the lead early in the half. By the second media timeout, Robert Morris led by two points.

Both teams struggled to find the basket coming out of the break. Robert Morris and YSU traded baskets left and right. Freshman guard Enoch Cheeks pulled off an impressive reverse layup and on the next defensive possession, Cheeks blocked Darius Quisenberry to cap off an impressive sequence.

By the final media timeout of the half, the Colonials held a slim one-point advantage.

In the waiting moments of the half, Robert Morris’ Jon Williams knocked down a three-point buzzer-beater to give the Colonials a five-point advantage heading into the locker room.

Overall, the Colonials shot 51-percent from the field which was just slightly better than Youngstown State’s 48-percent. YSU shot 50-percent from beyond the arc in the half hitting three of six attempts from the perimeter. The Colonials shot just 4-13 from downtown, hitting at a 30-percent clip.

Individually, both AJ Bramah and Naz Bohannon led their respective teams in points with 11. The Colonials outworked the ‘Guins on the glass, outrebounding them 17-12.

In the beginning stages of the second half, the Colonials struggled on both sides of the ball as YSU climbed back into the driver’s seat taking a three-point lead. Naz Bohannon outworked AJ Bramah down low which helped propel Youngstown State out to a six-point advantage. Andy Toole saw enough and called a timeout.

Toole addressed if he could attribute anything to the sluggish second-half struggles.

“I think Youngstown State, Northern Kentucky, those guys came out really aggressive attacking the rim and down in the paint,” Toole said. “The hardest part is to sustain that energy and execute for a full 40 minutes.”

After a rough start to the half, the Colonials pulled and clawed their way back to a two-point game. Kahliel Spear led the offensive attack and the team went on a 7-0 run.

The Colonials found a way to knot the game up at 52-apiece but the tie was short-lived as Greyson Kelly knocked down a triple to give the ‘Guins a three-point advantage heading into the under eight media timeout.

Right out of the media timeout the triples began to fly as Michael Akuchie connected, but Charles Bain, who was shooting just 17-percent from beyond the arc coming into tonight’s contest, answered with one of his own.

The Colonials continued to fight to regain control of the lead in the middle to late stages of the half and brought the score within just a point, but quickly the Penguins regained a two-possession lead. The final media timeout of the half hit with 2:57 left in the contest and YSU leading by five points.

RMU put together some good defensive stops that included a shot-clock violation and a Dante Treacy block on Darius Quisenberry.

Coach Toole then called a timeout to set up a play which allowed Dante Treacy to gain some separation and hit a triple to cut the lead to just a point.

On the ensuing possession, the Colonials sent Naz Bohannon to the charity stripe where he put the Penguins up by three points. The teams traded baskets and YSU still led by a point with 11 seconds to go in the contest.

With the Colonials forced to foul, they sent Shemar Rathan-Mayes to the line for a one and one attempt. He hit them both to give the Penguins a three-point advantage with four seconds to go.

Jon Williams was fouled on the floor which forced the Colonials to draw up a play thanks to an official review.

Dante Treacy inbounded the ball to Jon Williams and maneuvered around a defender with a pump-fake and hit a game-tying triple.

AJ Bramah drew a foul when he connected on a dunk. He converted the and-one opportunity to put RMU up by one with less than three minutes to go in the overtime frame.

Both the Penguins and the Colonials were playing defensively sound basketball, but Michael Akuchie found a way to tickle the twine to give the ‘Guins a three-point advantage.

The Colonials could not find any answers to the Youngstown State offense in the rest of the overtime frame as they were forced to foul the rest of the way.

Overall, Youngstown State shot 49-percent compared to Robert Morris’s 45-percent from the field. The Penguins also shot better from three-point land shooting at a 64-percent clip to the Colonials 32-percent.

AJ Bramah led the team in points with 20, but Kahliel Spear, Jon Williams, and Enoch Cheeks were key contributors in this game. Spear logged 17 in the loss, while Jon Williams and Cheeks put up a respectable 12 points. In Darius Quisenberry’s first game back from injury he led the Penguins offense with 20, and not too far behind him was Naz Bohannon who put up 18 points in the victory.

With another excruciating loss for the Colonials, they will look to split this series against Youngstown State tomorrow at 5:00 p.m right back at the UPMC Events Center.