RMU stops skid, takes down Oakland 73-65


Phoenix Gedeon goes up for a layup against Oakland. Photo Credit: Bailey Noel

Kevin Plowcha

MOON TOWNSHIP– The Robert Morris Colonials (8-10, 6-7 Horizon) took on the Oakland Golden Grizzlies (9-9, 7-4) Friday night at the UPMC Events Center. RMU was hoping to get back into the win column after two straight losses.

The first quarter started slow for both teams, as just three combined buckets were made in the first three minutes. However, both teams started to find their footing, and the quarter turned into an offensive battle.

Esther Castedo had eight of RMU’s first fourteen points and the Colonials, who average just under 53 points per game, put up 20 in the first ten minutes.

RMU led by three at the end of the first quarter.

The second quarter did not start nearly as eventful, and it appeared both teams used up all their offense in the first quarter.

RMU was held scoreless for nearly the first four minutes before Mackenzie Amalia hit back-to-back threes, bringing the UPMC Events Center to life.

RMU’s defense was a huge factor in the second quarter, as they held Oakland to just six points and one point in the final six minutes of the quarter.

It didn’t help that Oakland couldn’t find the bottom of the net, shooting just 2 for 10 (20%) in the second quarter, compared to RMU who shot 6 for 13 (46%).

Interim head coach Scott Schneider spoke about the team’s defensive effort in the second quarter.

“We forced a lot of turnovers and really bought into our pressure,” Schneider said. “The group that was in there really stepped up and brought a lot of energy and passion”.

As Schneider mentioned, turnovers were a big problem for the Golden Grizzlies, who had nine in the second quarter. The Colonials had six themselves but capitalized, scoring eight points off of turnovers compared to zero for Oakland.

RMU went on an 8-1 run to end the quarter and took an 11-point lead to the locker room.
The Colonials led by nine at the half, with Esther Castedo and Ashya Klopfenstein both having eight points.

As the second half got underway, RMU’s offense was showing no signs of slowing down. Alejandra Mastral, who got her first start of the season tonight, had a big steal and fastbreak bucket early in the third quarter, forcing Oakland to call timeout while also extending RMU’s lead to 15.

Scott Schneider also spoke of Mastral’s performance tonight after the game.

“She’s been performing really well in practice,” Schneider said. “She was dialed in for the entire game, and she was ready for that opportunity. She really brought her best effort forth”.

Oakland wasn’t going down without a fight, however. Kahlaijah Dean scored five quick points to cut the deficit to ten, and despite a three from Mastral to push RMU’s lead back to thirteen, the Golden Grizzlies found themselves down just nine halfway through the third quarter.

RMU didn’t let Oakland get any closer than that during the quarter, though, as a three-pointer from Simone Morris derailed any momentum that the Golden Grizzlies had. After three quarters of play, the Colonials led Oakland by 12.

An “and-one” from Oakland cut the deficit to eleven to start the fourth quarter, but a 6-0 run from RMU, including an “and one” from Esther Castedo, gave RMU a 17 point lead, their largest of the night, with eight minutes left in the game.
Castedo finished with 17 points, leading all scorers.

From there, it was all about RMU running time off the clock and maintaining their big lead. Oakland tried to mount a huge comeback and was able to cut the deficit to just five thanks to a few unforced errors by RMU. By then, though, there were just ten seconds left in the game.

It was too little too late for the Golden Grizzlies, and RMU was able to secure the win.

The Colonials stopped their two-game losing streak and took down Oakland by a final score of 73-65.

The 73 points are the most for RMU this season. Four players finished in double-figures for RMU: Castedo (17), Klopfenstein (16), Amalia (12), and Mastral (11).

Scott Schneider spoke about the offensive effort from the team.

“We’ve really talked to them about simplifying things,” Schneider said. “Sometimes we’re almost making it harder on ourselves by passing up shots, but this game we challenged ourselves to take that opportunity when it’s there”.

RMU will return to the UPMC Events Center for a Sunday matinee as they take on Detroit Mercy this Sunday at 1 p.m.