Robert Morris’ struggles continue in loss to Youngstown State


Kahliel Spear drives past Daniel Ogoro of Youngstown State. Photo credit: Justin Newton

Ethan Morrison

MOON TOWNSHIP– Robert Morris (2-11, 0-4 Horizon) kicked off a five-game homestand against Youngstown State (9-5, 3-1) looking for their first Horizon League win of the season.

The Colonials struggled tonight on both sides of the ball, dropping their second straight game losing 64-60.

Head coach Andy Toole spoke on the team’s performance after the game.

“Incredibly frustrating loss as it continues to get more and more challenging, we will look back and see so many plays where we didn’t handle our business and didn’t do what we needed to do to get it done didn’t finish with a rebound or didn’t finish offensively,” Toole said. “It is certainly frustrating but we will continue to battle, continue to work, and try to figure it out until we can’t do it anymore.”

RMU started the game with some tight defense to open the first few possessions of the game that allowed them to jump out to a three-point lead early on.

Youngstown State quickly fired back as Chris Shelton hit back-to-back three-pointers to put the Penguins up three at the first media timeout.

The Colonials struggled to get anything going on the offensive end to begin the game which allowed YSU to stretch their lead up to nine. RMU finally got some points in transition to cut the lead to four points with just under 12 minutes to go in the first half.

The Colonials’ offense started to click midway through the second half as they were trading punches with Youngstown State. By the under eight media, the Colonials still trailed by four points.

The dogfight continued for a majority of the next five minutes until Robert Morris jumped off to a 5-0 run which included the team’s first three-point field goal of the game. With just under two minutes to go in the half, the game was all tied up.

Towards the end of the half Michael Akuchie hit a mid-range jumper to put the Penguins on top by two to end the half.

After struggling to get any production on the offensive end of the floor the Colonials worked hard and got points in transition which allowed the offense to pick up. At the half, the Colonials were shooting 34 percent from the field but struggled from beyond the arc shooting just 1-12.

The Penguins were shooting 27 percent from the field while shooting 28 percent from three-point land. YSU also struggled with ball handling in the half committing 13 turnovers.

Both got off to a hot start making each of their first four field goals of the half. The teams were dialed in from the field and by the first media timeout of the second half Robert Morris trailed by just one point.

Both teams cooled off after that but Robert Morris edged out their first lead since early in the first half for a brief moment before Akuchie hit a triple to put YSU up 2.

Enoch Cheeks put on a nice spin move and made a layup while getting fouled to tie the game back up. He hit the free throw to once again give the Colonials a one-point lead.

YSU went on a 9-0 run with around five minutes to go in the game thanks to two deep three-pointers from Tevin Olison, which gave the Penguins a seven-point lead with just 4:08 to go in the game.

Kahliel Spear began to chip into the ‘Guins lead, converting an and-one opportunity to cut the lead to four.

Michael Green III converted both of his free throw opportunities to cut the lead to just two.

With 27 seconds remaining, Green fouled Akuchie who converted both free throw attempts to stretch the lead back out to four points and that is as close as Robert Morris was going to get as time expired.

Overall, the Colonials shot 40 percent from the field while just shooting a paltry 10 percent from beyond the arc. Dunn led the team in points with 15 but struggled all night long, getting those 15 points on 5-18 from the field.

Youngstown State shot 33 percent from the field and 40 percent from beyond the arc. Michael Akuchie led the team with 19 points.

The Colonials are back in action on Friday when they take on Cleveland State at 7:00 p.m. back at the UPMC Events Center.