Kahliel Spear scores career-high 27 points, Robert Morris waddles past YSU


Michael Green drives to the hoop at Youngstown State. Photo Credit: Gabriella Rankin

By Ethan Morrison, Assistant Sports Editor

YOUNGSTOWN, OHIO– Robert Morris (7-19, 5-12 Horizon) was on a two-game skid after losing both their home games to start off the week against Detroit Mercy and Oakland.

On the other side, Youngstown State (16-11, 10-7) was in the midst of a six-game winning streak.

After trailing by 10 points in the second half, Robert Morris fought their way back and completed the comeback effort winning the game by a final score of 73-68.

Head coach Andy Toole spoke about how big of a road win it was for him and his team after the game.

“It was huge,” Toole said. “When you look at weeks like this when you have three games, this is the game when you are on the road with a noon start time and a team that has played well, you don’t look at this game as a game that you would take. To be able to come here and be down by 10 and figure out a way to win is huge for us and we are really proud of the effort from our guys.”

Robert Morris got the scoring going early in this one as Michael Green III scored the opening points of the contest, knocking down a mid-range jumper off the dribble.

A few possessions later, they got an unlikely source of scoring from the outside as Kahliel Spear knocked down two straight shots from beyond the arc.

At the under 16 media timeout Robert Morris led by two.

The Colonials struggled out of the break as Youngstown State went on a 7-0 run to lead by five points.

RMU rebounded nicely, however, cutting the lead to three points at the under 12 media timeout.

Robert Morris continued to claw their way back from the small deficit with a three-point jumper from Brandon Stone and Kam Farris to give RMU a slim one-point advantage. That forced Youngstown State head coach Jared Calhoun to call a timeout.

YSU responded nicely out of the timeout as they regained the lead and led by five points once again at the under-eight media timeout.

Both teams continued to trade baskets left and right as the Penguins held onto a five-point advantage. Matt Mayers cut the lead to just two points late in the first half converting an and-one.

The Colonials had a rough end to the half going 0-2 from the field in the final two minutes while Youngstown State went 3-4. The lead for the ‘Guins was at seven but a foul from Dwayne Cohill sent Farris to the charity stripe for three shots where he converted all three.

At the half, Youngstown State led by five points. Spear led Robert Morris in scoring with 10 points while both Cohill and Myles Hunter led the Penguins with nine points apiece.

Robert Morris got off to a blazing start, going on a 6-2 run to kick off the second half which cut the Penguins’ lead to just one point. YSU regained control of the lead shortly thereafter as they led by five points at the under 16 media.

The Colonials continued to fight and mustered a one-point lead after Spear took the ball down the floor and did all the work himself. That forced Calhoun to call his second timeout of the second half.

Youngstown State began to pull away after the timeout as they started to heat up from beyond the arc, and after making just one three-point field goal in the first half, they hit around 60 percent from long range midway through the second half. That forced Toole to call a timeout.

The Penguins continued to control the pace of the game stretching the lead to 10 points at one point which was their biggest lead of the game.

RMU continued to fight, however, as they cut the Penguins’ lead to four points after a Spear three-point jumper and a Matt Mayers alley-oop lay-up.

Spear continued to dominate down the stretch. After hitting a triple he fought for a 50/50 ball on the offensive glass and got fouled on the way back up and the basket counted. After the media timeout, Spear converted the and-one opportunity cutting the YSU lead down to one.

Farris put the Colonials over the Penguins for a brief moment with a three-point jumper, but Cohill went down and laid one in to knot the game up.

Toole discussed the confidence-building game for Farris.

“The skip three that he made was critical and then a free throw late in the game, he still has to get his timing and he still might be a quarter step slow on some of the reads,” he said. “It’s hard because he knows that he’s a guy that they are not allowing to get space, but hopefully for him, this is a game that can propel him and help him down the stretch.”

Both teams traded buckets left and right until Farris knocked down the biggest jump shot of the game, putting the Colonials up by two with just three minutes to go in the game.

The Colonial defense held serve in those final three minutes, not giving an inch. and with some timely free throws from Green and Enoch Cheeks, the Colonials closed out the game.

Spear had another career day for the Colonials, putting up a new career-high 27 points. That breaks his previous career-high 25 points, which he set just around two weeks ago against Milwaukee.

Robert Morris found their shot in the second half and shot 63 percent from the field and a perfect 3 for 3 from downtown.

Youngstown State struggled from the field in the second half shooting just 41 percent from the field and 37 percent from beyond the arc.

Robert Morris heads back home next week for their final home series of the season when they face IUPUI on Thursday night. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.