MOON TOWNSHIP, Pa. — Robert Morris was on a two-game NEC skid before its home matchup against Mount St. Mary’s – the Colonials also beat The Mount 77-60 on Feb. 13 in Maryland – on Friday night, which they won in comeback fashion, 68-60.
The two straight RMU losses, one of which ending in a clear-cut blown call against Farleigh Dickinson (72-71) and the other one marking the Colonials’ second-most lopsided defeat in conference play, a 15-point road loss to St. Francis (PA), still have them able to control their own destiny for a chance to win the regular-season title and have home-court advantage in the conference tournament.
With the win on Friday, Andy Toole and his team look like a group that is ready to get back on the right path, as they have two remaining games on their schedule before the tournament begins.
But the win didn’t come easily for RMU. It was a complete dogfight for 40-minutes.
The Mountaineers (10-17; 6-8 NEC) got off to a hot start shooting the ball and led by ten points with under seven minutes left in the first half. They made five of their first 3-point attempts. After a sluggish offensive start for Robert Morris (15-13; 11-4), its senior captain Josh Williams answered the run with seven straight points to bring the Colonials within three points by the time the under four-minute media timeout rolled around.
Mount St. Mary’s led the Colonials at halftime, 33-28.
After opening the second half with two straight turnovers, Robert Morris once again answered with significant help from Williams. He finished a left-handed layup, then used a pump fake and drilled a corner 3-pointer, and suddenly RMU tied it up at 35 apiece. Just a couple minutes later, guard Jalen Hawkins dropped in a three of his own, and the Colonials snatched their first lead of the game, with 11:52 remaining.
RMU had its largest lead of the game at six points with 8:47 remaining, after a Charles Bain three, which was his first field goal of the game. Bain led the Colonials with 17 points in their loss at St. Francis. The Colonials’ leading scorer AJ Bramah scored just seven points (first time under ten points in his last 24 games) but did grab ten rebounds.
But the Mountaineers weren’t phased by the Colonials and tied things back up at 57-all, with 3:42 remaining. Jon Williams responded by heaving a prayer at the end of the shot clock and swished it, putting RMU back on top.
Jon’s brother Josh led all scorers with 22 points on the night, making five 3-pointers, his biggest one coming with 1:02 remaining to give RMU its final dagger. Yannis Mendy was the only other Colonial who scored in double figures with 13 points.
Robert Morris made its presence in the paint, outscoring the Mountaineers 30-18 in that category. The Colonials also boasted a 47.1 shooting percentage.
Jalen Gibbs, Vado Morse, and Damian Chong Oui all came into their matchup against RMU, averaging just over 11 points per game for the Mountaineers. But Gibbs grabbed the keys to the car early on Friday. He hit five 3s in the first half alone, on just seven attempts, and led The Mount in the game with 19 points for the game.
Next up, Robert Morris gets another crack at Fairleigh Dickinson on the road this Sunday, Feb. 23.