Vikings’ Last Second Tip-In Dashes Hopes of Resilient Robert Morris


Kahliel Spear had 11 points in the 57-55 loss to Cleveland State Photo credit: Cam Wickline

Nate Fanell

CLEVELAND, OHIO— Robert Morris (14-11, 9-5 Horizon) traveled to the Wolstein Center to take on Cleveland State (11-14, 6-8). The Colonials suffered a heartbreaking defeat, 57-55, on Friday night.

Robert Morris started off the game cold. Shooting 5-19 (26.3%) and trailing by as many as 15 points through the first 13 minutes.

Eventually, the Colonials could find their rhythm, cutting the deficit to just one at halftime.

When head coach Andy Toole was asked about the team’s ability to battle back he stated,

“Just trying to execute our formula,” Toole said. “Just trying to make sure we’re getting stops, rebounds, and then taking great shots. We were able to do that for large stretches after the first ten minutes of the first half.”

Enoch Cheeks had a team-high 17 points in the 57-55 loss to Cleveland State (Photo by Cam Wickline)

Enoch Cheeks led the comeback with a game-high 10 points going into the break and a total of 17. Toole commented on what makes Enoch Cheeks such a dominant scorer.

“Obviously, he’s dynamic. He’s got an explosive first step. He’s really able to finish in the lane. He can make threes, as well as pull up, so he can score at all three levels.”

He explained how Cheeks’ ability to score helps open up the offense.

“When he is active and aggressive, that really helps our team out from an offensive flow perspective because he draws so much attention as he gets in the paint.”

Cleveland State opened the second half almost identical to the first, as they went on a 14-3 scoring run in the first seven minutes of the second half.

Michael Green delivered his first bucket of the game at the 13-minute mark in the second half, sparking yet another comeback for the Colonials. As the team trailed by just two, Michael Green drew a shooting foul with under three minutes to play and earned two shots at the line, tying the ballgame for the first time since the start of the game.

After a massive defensive stand by Robert Morris, Jackson Last was able to fight through contact and score with just 1:08 remaining to give the Colonials their first lead of the game.

On the very next possession, Drew Lowder was able to tie the game at 55-55. Robert Morris turned the ball over with just 26 seconds left to play, setting up Cleveland State with the final shot.

The Vikings missed their first two attempts. However, they were able to collect the offensive rebound both times. On the third attempt, Deante Johnson was able to tip it in to give the Vikings a 57-55 lead with just two seconds remaining, and they would hold on to win the game by that total.

After a hard-fought loss, Toole knows exactly the message to give the team.

“Sometimes it doesn’t come down to the last seconds. When you start the game down 17-3 and you spot a team like Cleveland State a double-digit lead it makes the game really difficult.”

Playing 40 minutes will be crucial for the Colonials to collect a victory, as they continue their road trip.

Robert Morris travels to Purdue Fort Wayne on Sunday to take on the Mastodons at 1 p.m.