MOON TOWNSHIP, Pa. — Robert Morris quickly got back in the win column — after suffering their first conference loss of the season on Saturday against Merrimack — with an energizing 67-55 win over Sacred Heart on Monday at UPMC Events Center.
The Colonials’ energy sparked a 16-0 run midway through the first half and pushed their lead to as many as 17 points. They were led by AJ Bramah, who seemed to snatch every 50/50 ball and, with just two minutes left in the first half, already had recorded a double-double.
Nothing changed for Bramah in the second half, as he finished the game with career-highs in points (18) and rebounds (20). Bramah failed to miss a shot, going 9-for-9 from the floor.
For a large part of that first RMU scoring run, Sacred Heart leading scorer E.J. Anosike was on the bench, after he was charged with his second foul. But Anosike couldn’t sit long and kept the Pioneers within striking distance heading into halftime, as they trailed 34-25.
In Robert Morris’ previous games, their free-flowing up-tempo offense scored 94, 78, and 69 points, respectively. But in the loss against Merrimack, they were slowed down in large part because of the Warriors’ 2-3 zone, and the Colonials were held to just 49 points.
On Monday, Sacred Heart also showed zone out of the gate, but the Colonials’ were better prepared. Even when outside shots weren’t falling, they made it a priority to push the ball on all misses and have the offense work inside-out. Besides putting the ball in the hoop, Robert Morris showed a greater sense of urgency for much of the game.
Leading scorer for Robert Morris, Josh Williams, was held scoreless at the half and finished with 8 points and 0-for-4 from 3. In the opening minutes of the second half, Williams landed awkwardly on his ankle and was sidelined for over six minutes until he checked back in at the under-12 media timeout.
The Colonials got an offensive boost from junior guard Sayveon McEwen who went on a 7-0 run of his own in the second half and again gave RMU a 17-point lead, which tied for their largest of the game. Thanks to McEwen and Bramah, RMU’s bench outscored Sacred Heart 35-17.
Robert Morris sophomore point guard Dante Treacy tallied six assists and three steals.
Sacred Heart made it interesting and crawled right back to get within six points in the ladder half of the second frame. They finished the game with 15 second-chance points. But Robert Morris executed and made their free-throws down the stretch to hold on to a comfortable double-digit win.
The Pioneers were without two starters, Koreem Ozier and Cameron Parker.
But like Bramah, Sacred Heart’s Anosike showed out in the paint and scored a game-high 20 points while grabbing 17 rebounds.
Up next, Robert Morris (9-10, 5-1 NEC) will go back on the road and play St. Francis Brooklyn (8-9, 2-3 NEC) on Thursday, Jan. 23.