MOON TOWNSHIP, Pa. — As the Robert Morris men’s basketball team sprinted down the floor in transition, senior guard Jon Williams put a finger in the air as his team was not being pursued by any Point Park player, meaning an easy basket was coming.
As Point Park licked its wound and watched a transition occur on its 17th turnover, both Charles Bain and Olisa Ngonadi, both of whom are post players, sprinted the floor. When Bain missed his basket, Ngonadi was there to clean up the rebound and score.
Robert Morris led the entire way through, earning a 75-57 season-opening victory Saturday evening at the UPMC Events Center.
Nine of the 10 Robert Morris (1-0) players who saw the court scored, led by senior forward AJ Bramah’s 18 points and seven rebounds. Ngonadi, a sophomore forward, scored achieved career highs with 13 points and eight rebounds. Junior guard Dante Treacy added 12 points towards RMU’s cause.
Point Park (0-3) was led by junior guard Jesse Calloway’s 10 points. Point Park had 22 turnovers on the evening.
Early on Robert Morris controlled the pace and established a physicality that Point Park was unable to match as the on-court intensity as the Colonials were able to effectively move the ball and get the most out of its possessions.
Treacy was able to effectively move the ball around, recording two early assists as teammates were the beneficiaries of wide-open looks allowing Robert Morris to score seven points.
Freshman guard Enoch Cheeks earned a start in his first career game and during this early portion of the first half scored a quick four points and grabbed three rebounds.
Point Park coach Joe Lewandowski called an early timeout after the first seven points were scored by the opposition but with RMU’s aggression, it took time for the Pioneers to adjust.
In the meantime, Robert Morris was able to go deeper into its depth. Ngonadi and freshman guard Trayden Williams and sophomore forward were top contributors from the RMU bench. Junior guard Cameron Wilbon also made his return to the court after missing last season.
With Robert Morris seemingly in control, up 15 points at the under-eight media timeout, Point Park made a run, cutting that advantage to seven points. On its end, RMU made ill-advised shots, recorded multiple illegal screens and also suffered multiple additional turnovers during this stretch.
Robert Morris appeared to get back into sorts at the next media timeout and placed the lead back to 42-28 at halftime.
RMU’s defense was a difference maker in the first half as Point Park recorded one assist on 11 makes, while also committing 12 turnovers. Additionally, Robert Morris owned a 26-14 advantage inside the paint.
It was a similarly strong start to the second half for Robert Morris who swished the first six points while Point Park could not find consistent success on either end of the court.
Though Robert Morris’s offense was not as effective, the defense held Point Park to a 34.6% shooting clip.
Robert Morris will next travel to Morgantown to face West Virginia Wednesday at 7 p.m, while Point Park will play at Stony Brook Dec. 15.