Robert Morris drops close contest to Cleveland State


Enoch Cheeks surveys against Cleveland State. Photo credit: Tyler Gallo

Ethan Morrison

MOON TOWNSHIP– Robert Morris (2-12, 0-5 Horizon) was still in search of their first Horizon League win of the season against first-place Cleveland State (9-3, 5-0).

With just 10 players, Robert Morris fought until the final buzzer but fell to the Vikings by a final score of 78-77.

Head coach Andy Toole discussed the team’s effort after the game.

“We are disappointed that we were one point short. Really proud of the fight that they guys showed for 40 minutes and that from here on out needs to be non-negotiable and we need to clean up some possessions where we had some breakdowns that will kill,” Toole said. “Being able to stick to our formula and execute our formula is critical and there were a few too many possessions late when we were a step slow or a second short… we’ll continue to fight and battle.”

Unlike in past games, Robert Morris got off to a fast start matching Cleveland State’s offense shot for shot with Matt Mayers stretching the floor for the first basket for the Colonials.

Tre Gomillion was on fire in the early minutes of the game as he had eight points in just six minutes of action. At the under 16 media timeout, the Vikings led by six.

Robert Morris came out firing out of the media timeout, forcing turnovers left and right. That allowed them to go on a 6-0 run to retake the lead by one point with just about 11 minutes to go in the first half.

RMU persisted in limiting the Cleveland State offense as they continued to tack on points to their run as Kahliel Spear hit a fadeaway to increase the Robert Morris lead to three points.

Robert Morris continued controlling the pace of the game as they kept shooting the ball effectively from the field down the stretch in the first half. By the under four media, Robert Morris led by four.

Right out of the media timeout, Spear grabbed a board and took it up the floor and handed it off to Stone who threw down a two-handed jam. After a Viking miss Stone followed up the slam with a three-pointer to increase the lead to seven.

D’Moi Hodge hit a three-pointer on the other end to once again cut the lead to four points.

By the end of the first half, RMU took a two-point lead into the locker room.

Overall the Colonials shot 58 percent from the field in the first half while shooting just 2-8 from beyond the arc. Cleveland State shot 47 percent from the field while shooting 3-8 from deep.

Compared to the start of the first half, the second half was a lot slower-paced with both teams missing some buckets early. The Vikings went 1-3 in shot attempts while the Colonials went 1-5, but Robert Morris still held their ground and kept the lead at the under 16 media timeout.

The Robert Morris defense continued to be tight, forcing Cleveland State to put up some uncomfortable shots that allowed RMU to extend their lead to six with 11:33 remaining in the game.

A couple of missed shots for the Colonials and a goaltending violation from Spear cut the RMU lead down to just two points with 7:43 remaining in the game.

Right out of the break, Yahel Hill nailed a three-point shot for the Vikings to give Cleveland State their first lead since the first half.

After trading a few buckets with Robert Morris, CSU went on a 5-0 run to take a five-point lead into the under-four media timeout.

The Colonials clawed back as Kam Farris converted an and-one opportunity and Enoch Cheeks hit a three-point shot to cut the Viking lead to one point.

Cleveland State went back up by four once again but Robert Morris was able to get a stop and Cheeks got the ball and threw down the two-handed slam. He was fouled on the dunk which allowed him to cut the lead to one point with 16 seconds to go. Cheeks delivered and Robert Morris sent Hill to the line for the Vikings.

On the ensuing possession, Kam Farris got the ball, and instead of looking for a three-point shot that would tie the game he drove and made a layup. That marked the end of a tough game for the Colonials, falling 78-77.

Even though RMU came out on the losing end of things this evening, they did a much better job on the glass outrebounding the Vikings 31-24.

Kahliel Spear led the team in points with 24 while Torrey Patton led CSU with 18, shooting 5-11 from the field and 8-12 from the charity stripe.

Robert Morris is back in action on Sunday afternoon when they take on Purdue Fort Wayne at 1:00 p.m.