Best New Year’s performances of the last decade for Robert Morris basketball

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Honoka Ikematsu’s 25-point performance on New Years’ Eve in 2017 stands as one of the best New Years’ performances in RMU basketball history. Photo credit: Samuel Anthony

By Tyler Gallo, Sports Editor

In Robert Morris basketball history, there have been very few games played on January 1st, with most past scheduled games coming on December 31st or January 2nd.

However, the last two seasons in the Horizon League, both squads have taken the court on New Year’s Day, and although the men’s game this year at Detroit Mercy was declared a no-contest due to COVID, the women’s team will play Purdue Fort Wayne on Saturday.

With that being said, let’s take a look at Robert Morris basketball’s New Year’s performances since 2012 in backward chronological order.

The games that qualify for this list have to be on December 31, January 1 or January 2.

AJ Bramah vs. Milwaukee, January 1, 2021

In men’s basketball’s only New Year’s Day game of the decade, AJ Bramah extended his already solid stretch of performances with a double-double against Milwaukee.

Bramah dropped 20 points, his third outing in a row reaching that mark, and grabbed 14 boards, his first of three consecutive double-digit efforts.

It was his first double-double of the season and the first of six he recorded before he transferred, including three in a row after this game.

This effort halted a comeback from Milwaukee with the Colonials narrowly escaping the game with a 67-64 victory.

Nneka Ezeigbo @ Central Connecticut, January 2, 2020

Both teams were in New Britain for the New Year in 2020, and both crews had strong performances to boot.

Ezeigbo’s performance was well in the middle of her second straight All-NEC First Team season.

She dropped 24 points, 6 rebounds and 6 steals during the team’s 85-56 rout of the Blue Devils.

In addition to it being the most steals she had in a game that year, her 24 points were the second-most she scored during the season, a mark she recorded three times.

Jon & Josh Williams @ Central Connecticut State, January 2, 2020

The Williams brothers, in addition to Ezeigbo, certainly brought the heat to New Britain in a wild New Year’s weekend for RMU basketball.

In a game where five different players scored double digits, the Williams brothers were at the forefront, with Josh dropping 20 and Jon 17, shooting a combined 9-13 from three-point land.

The NEC opener went swimmingly for RMU, defeating the 1-13 Blue Devils 89-78. Bramah also shined in the victory, going for 14 points and 14 rebounds off the bench.

Honoka Ikematsu @ Sacred Heart, December 31, 2017

Perhaps the best New Year’s performance came for women’s basketball on New Year’s Eve 2017 from Honoka Ikematsu.

After she put up a career-high 23 points the game before at Fairleigh Dickinson, Ikematsu saved the best for her next game, eclipsing that with a 25-point, 6 rebound, 3 assist performance.

It stood as her career game, never surpassing 20 again for the rest of her time at RMU and the best New Year’s game in terms of points of the past decade for RMU.

The Colonials ran away 91-57 in that contest with five players reaching double digits in points.

Charles Bain @ Central Connecticut State, December 31, 2017

While starter Dachon Burke put up 16 points in the win on New Year’s Eve 2017, it was a bench piece who stole the show for the Colonials in New Britain.

Charles Bain exploded for a then career-high 18 points, shooting 7-10 and 3-4 from outside.

Bain also grabbed 4 rebounds in the 71-57 victory, and the reason it was so noteworthy was that he scored 18 in just 20 minutes.

Robert Morris’ 27 of 71 points that game were bench points thanks to Bain’s stellar performance from the field.

Rebeca Navarro @ Fairleigh Dickinson, December 31, 2016

Back in the 2016 New Year’s Eve game, RMU escaped with a narrow 66-64 win in Teaneck.

Rebeca Navarro’s 22 points proved to be the difference, including a three-pointer with just under eight minutes remaining that was the game-winning basket.

The Knights went on a 12-0 run to close things out, but RMU staved off the comeback effort.

Navarro’s 22 were a season-high as she shot an impressive 6-9 from beyond the arc and 8-11 overall.

Anna Niki Stamolamprou vs. Sacred Heart, January 2, 2016

Stamolamprou was known for great performances at RMU but certainly stuffed the stat sheet in 2016 at the Sewall Center.

She and SHU’s Hannah Kimmel traded shots in this game, both reaching 22 points and eight field goals made, but it was Stamolamprou’s team who came out on top 78-63.

Stamolamprou also grabbed 5 rebounds, dished 6 assists, and picked up a steal, far and away the points leader for RMU in the win.

Artemis Spanou @ Duquesne, December 31, 2011

Spanou, one of the most decorated players in RMU women’s basketball history, had an impressive performance at city rival Duquesne on New Year’s Eve 2011, scoring 18 points and grabbing a superb 14 rebounds.

While they fell by three to the Dukes, 17 points from April Williams and a near double-double from Mary Durojaye contributed to the strong effort in the Steel City.

Despite the men’s trip to Detroit being canceled, the women will have a chance to play on New Year’s Day, and we will see if any of their players have some New Year’s magic in them to add to this list.