Robert Morris Handed First Loss in Road Test at Akron

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Photo by Ethan Morrison

Robert Morris falls to the Akron Zips, 68-50.

By Nathan Breisinger, Editor in Chief

AKRON, OHIO – The toughest test of the young season for Robert Morris presented itself on Wednesday as the Colonials traveled to Akron as it was the Zips who kept the Colonials at arm’s length all game long with a 68-50 victory.

Robert Morris (4-1) had the opportunity to post its best start in program history, but Akron (3-1) capitalized on the Colonials’ mistakes for the 18-point win.

Competing after a nine-day break created some challenges for the Colonials and it showed against a Mid-American Conference Zips team that was coming off of a 17-point win against Horizon League preseason favorite Youngstown State on Friday.

“We were coming off a pretty decent layoff and we were trying to keep our pace,” Robert Morris head coach Charlie Buscaglia said. “It was a battle to face a team that plays as fast as they do. It was a good challenge for us but unfortunately, we didn’t overcome the obstacle today.

Akron’s defense posed some issues for the as well as they closed passing lanes and forced the Colonials to shoot from the outside. Defensively, the Zips relied on the zone which was difficult for Robert Morris to break through.

“Their zone was pretty active and they did a good job with it,” Buscaglia said. “Give them credit for the things they did to throw off our timing. In that zone, they were clogging those lanes a lot and making us earn to get the ball to the basket.”

Inconsistent play on the offensive side plagued the Colonials throughout the evening as the Colonials shot 31.3 percent from the floor – the second lowest on the season. With Akron pushing the RMU offense to the outside, the Colonials went 4-16 from beyond the arc.

“We created some looks that we didn’t knock down,” Buscaglia said.

Louella Allana attempts a three-pointer against Akron. (Photo by Ethan Morrison)

Robert Morris also struggled to hold onto the ball as the Colonials registered 16 turnovers with a plethora of unforced errors. As Akron turned towards the offensive side of the floor, the Zips also outplayed their counterparts in that facet.

Capitalizing on open looks, Akron carved up the Colonials’ defense with strong ball movement that opened up breathing room within the paint as the Zips finished with 36 points in the paint.

With her third double-digit performance of the season, Reagan Bass finished the night with a team-high 15 points and eight rebounds. The 6-foot-1 sophomore utilized her size which was another disadvantage for the Colonials.

Akron’s starting lineup boasted three players over the size of 6-foot showing a size mismatch. The Zips took that advantage and outrebounded Robert Morris 45-28.

“We needed to do a better job of rebounding the ball, so on the misses we would’ve forced them to play man,” Buscaglia said.

Despite a tough night across the board along with zero players registering double-figure scoring, Buscaglia emphasized the resilience of his team.

“I think the team fought really hard,” he said. “The team did continue to fight even though it could’ve got out of hand there.”

Sophomores Simone Morris and Danielle Vuletich showed that fight late in the game as they continued to score for the Colonials down the stretch. Both Morris and Vuletich finished with nine points for the team-high on the night.

Simone Morris drives in the paint against Akron. (Photo by Ethan Morrison)

The loss against Akron marks the first for Robert Morris this season and the message continues to be the same for Buscaglia no matter the outcome.

“We got to be able to handle winning and losing,” he said. “This is a different feeling and it stings but we got to respond from that and we have to not lose our way. I always tell them humility is not thinking too much of yourself but not thinking too little of yourself too so we got to stay level here and get back to work.”

Robert Morris returns to action on Saturday when Canisius visits the UPMC Events Center for a 1 p.m. tip.