HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — To glance at the box score, it would appear Robert Morris fared better than an 85-71 loss at Marshall on Sunday.
The Colonials (1-2) didn’t have a great shooting game at the Thundering Herd’s Cam Henderson Center — especially in the first half — but played mostly even in the second half. Go a little deeper into the box score, however, and the glaring difference between the two teams came in the form of turnovers. RMU turned the ball over 23 times, and while Marshall was not far behind with 19 of its own turnovers the Thundering Herd outscored the Colonials 29-18 off those mistakes.
RMU faced a similar problem in last week’s loss against Bowling Green when the Falcons owned a 27-7 advantage in points off turnovers.
“Obviously we took some tough shots in that first half for sure, but a lot of our turnovers turned into easy baskets for them and then they got hot from the 3-point line in the first half and that was kind of the story of them controlling the majority of the game,” Robert Morris coach Andy Toole said. “There were just too many possession during the course of the game that we gave away. They’re so good at converting those turnovers for scores, and they can do it so quickly that any time we got within striking distance we would have a stretch where we would turn it over and “boom” a six-point game goes to a 12-point game or a 10-point game goes to a 20-point game. That was frustrating because when we were able to take care of the ball and we were able to get some clean shots on the rim we were able to compete — it just wasn’t long enough out of the 40 minutes.”
RMU now has some time off before it opens Horizon League play with back-to-back games next weekend at Purdue Fort Wayne. It is time Toole said the Colonials badly need to spend in the gym.
“We’ve got to practice and we’ve got to tighten a lot of stuff up,” Toole said. “We’ve got to get everybody creating that connectivity and understanding of some of those details that can change a game. Friday and Sunday were two of the first Division I experiences for some of those guys and some of the things you think you can get away with, you cant. Some of the things that are really important, guys have to embrace if they want to be successful and I think they do [want to be successful]. I think we can get back into practice, iron this out and you will see some improvement in our team. We need to get on that practice court.”
SPEAR STEPS UP WITH BAIN OUT
Robert Morris spent most of Sunday’s loss without the services of senior forward Charles Bain, who played just four minutes before leaving the game with a calf injury.
Toole said Bain, one of RMU’s veteran players who averaged 7.5 points and 6 rebounds per game prior to Sunday, struggled to put weight on the injured leg but the coach is hopeful for a speedy return to the court.
“We were smart with it and the Marshall doctor looked at him and didn’t think there was anything too serious. It’s just a matter of him working rehab and getting with our training staff.”
With Bain out of the game, that opened the door for newly eligible transfer Kahliel Spear to fill in some of those missing minutes. Spear, who came to RMU from Bucknell prior to this season, played 27 minutes in Sunday’s loss with 13 points and five rebounds.
“[Spear] is a guy who just got eligible last Wednesday when the NCAA declared everybody sitting out as a transfer eligible,” Toole said. “I think he’s the kind of guy to jump start and he did a nice job today — but there are still things he needs to clean up. He picked up some more minutes from Bain and did a nice job, so if Charles can come back healthy and we can improve as a group — I think you look at Charles and A.J. [Bramah] and Kahliel as a good start to a nice frontcourt.”