Spear’s Career-High 30 Points Carries Robert Morris to Third Win in a Row


Ellie Whittington

Spear blocks Jalen Moore in the 68-63 win over Oakland

Kevin Plowcha

MOON TOWNSHIP— Just two days after defeating Detroit Mercy for the first time in program history, Robert Morris (11-12, 6-6 Horizon) looked to secure their third win in a row for just the second time this season as they took on the Oakland Golden Grizzlies (9-13, 7-5). After a back-and-forth affair, Robert Morris took down Oakland 68-63.

Points came at a premium for both teams early on, but the Colonials found a reliable resource in Kahliel Spear.

RMU took advantage of Spear’s athleticism to overpower defenders down low, resulting in 14 first-half points, including three dunks.

The spear would go on to finish with a career-high 30 points. Head coach Andy Toole spoke about what he has meant to the program and how his game has continued to improve throughout his time at RMU.

“When he came here, you could see a lot of the raw ability that he had,” Toole said. “He’s put incredible amounts of time and effort into continuing to develop as a player. He’s also been able to develop his all-around game. His commitment to defense and ability to protect the rim is critical to us.”

Rebounds were a big factor as the Golden Grizzlies would continue to fight until the final buzzer. The Colonials outrebounded Oakland 21 to 15 in the first half, and 35 to 31 for the game.

Stephaun Walker contributed heavily to the rebound advantage, grabbing all nine of his rebounds in the first half.

Toole spoke about the role Walker had on the boards when points seemed few and far between.

“[Walker] has a great instinct. He’s not afraid to be physical,” Toole said. “He gets after the backboards and takes great pride in that. Today, you had two teams that were really trying to disrupt each other defensively and were doing everything in their power to not give you stuff with ease.”

Ball movement was efficient for RMU. Michael Green III had eight assists, and the team finished with 19 assists on 26 made shots.

Toole spoke on the selflessness of his team and the impact that the ball movement had on the win.

“When you’re playing zone defense, you gotta move the ball,” Toole said. “We’re always trying to promote good, quick decisions and good ball movement. The ball was really moving in and out of people’s hands at a good pace, and I think that when you do that, it puts a lot of pressure on the defense. We had a great balance of attacking the rim but also being able to make some strategic threes.”

Despite RMU leading for nearly every minute of the game and possessing a ten-point lead with just over ten minutes to play, Oakland wouldn’t go quietly, cutting the lead to as little as three with under a minute remaining.

Jalen Moore was Oakland’s leading scorer, finishing with 24 points. Moore missed two three-pointers with just seconds remaining to try and tie the game.

Toole spoke of the impact that Moore has on the game and on his team.

Jalen Moore had an Oakland-high 24 points in the loss Sunday afternoon (Photo by Ellie Whittington)

“He controls the pace of the game,” Toole said. “You’re trying to limit his playmaking activity as best as you can. Even if you find him at times to be not as efficient from a shooting perspective, he still does a great job of getting to the free-throw line.”

Josh Corbin hit two free throws to give the Colonials an insurmountable five-point lead with three seconds left. Coach Toole spoke of the recent efficiency from the free-throw line.

“We just gotta keep stepping to the line and being as solid as we can be,” Toole said. “We’re going to continue to shoot them in practice. We’re going to continue to do different things to add game pressure to our shots and see if we can continue to step up and make them when we need them.”

The Colonials continue their homestand on Thursday night as Northern Kentucky travels to the UPMC Events Center.