MOON TOWNSHIP, Pa. — In the Colonials’ win Monday night over Sacred Heart, junior forward AJ Bramah tied the Robert Morris single-game rebounding record (20), which was intact for 40 years.
Bramah also went 9-for-9 from the field, scored a career-high 18 points, and sent home two ferocious dunks, both of which swayed momentum in favor of the Colonials.
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Six of Bramah’s rebounds were offensive and he added two blocks. More impressively, he put up these jaw-dropping numbers off the bench in 29 minutes of action.
After Monday’s performance, Robert Morris head coach Andy Toole had high-praise for the 6’7″ 185-pounder.
“It’s about as high a level effort as you can imagine,” Toole said. “Him and E.J. Anosike (Sacred Heart’s leading scorer) going at each other the way that they did, it was really really impressive.”
Bramah thought that facing an opponent like Anosike had a large impact on him bringing his A-game and knew coming into Monday’s game, that it would be one of his toughest challenges of the season.
“I’ll say E.J. allowed me to come out and play at that level,” Bramah said. “He’s a very physical player, and he knows how to rebound. So I knew I had to come today and just own the glass, and that’s what I tried to do.”
“I thought he was everywhere tonight,” Toole said. “Some really great blocks, really good wall-ups. You’re constantly being pounded on by Anosike and Spellman. … Those guys are loads and as strong as can be. I thought (Bramah) stood up to the challenge really well and obviously, made play after play after play for us offensively.”
Bramah was even more impressed with his offensive numbers. He said, “I had a little luck today.”
Averaging 16 points and 9.7 rebounds in NEC play isn’t considered luck by any means. It’s hard to ignore the numbers. He ranks No. 1 in the NEC in field goal percentage (78.3%), No. 4 in rebounding and No. 5 in scoring. However, Bramah is more worried about Ws in the win/loss column — and the Robert Morris has won five out of six to start conference play.
But without his energy and will to win, the Colonials probably don’t walk out off the UPMC Peoples Court with a victory in their latest battle.
Toole said that as a team, Monday displayed the Colonials’ weakest performance out of the four games in their recent homestand.
Robert Morris held a 17-point lead in each half against Sacred Heart, but let them crawl back to within six points in the second half. Also, the Pioneers were without two starters, which causes even more concern for Toole.
But Bramah always seemed to answer the call.
“Even the stretch in the second half, when they come back and make it pretty close — We put A.J. in the game, he scores five straight points and gets the next two defensive rebounds, and it’s like, all of the sudden you can breathe for a second.”