Though both Dante Treacy and Jon Williams out of Friday night’s Robert Morris contest against Milwaukee, the Colonials emerged 67-64 victors.
“COVID protocols, that’s really all I can say,” Robert Morris coach Andy Toole said. “They were part of the protocols and we’re going to figure those things out as we move forward. We miss those guys dearly and Charles Bain as well. The three of those were probably jumping up and down in their room. They are probably texting or FaceTiming those guys in the locker room right now. Those guys are all great teammates and probably the happiest people that we were able to get the win even though they weren’t able to play.”
Toole is unsure if any will be available to play tomorrow.
“Welcome to 2021, right?” asked Toole. “We need our guys whoever is able to play to step up and execute our formula. We had some breakdowns in our principles and our formula. They exploited some of those, maybe half a step slow or half a step late, not reacting on time. I think we came up with enough stops down the stretch to eek out the win.”
Additionally, AJ Bramah did not start in the game, though he led Robert Morris with a double-double consisting of 20 points and 10 rebounds. It was the ninth double-double of his career and first this season.
Robert Morris (3-3, 2-1 Horizon) freshman guard Enoch Cheeks set a career high with both his 13 points and seven rebounds.
Junior guard Cameron Wilbon earned his first double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Freshman guard Trayden Williams added 10 points while making his first career start.
Milwaukee (3-2, 2-1 Horizon) were led by DeAndre Gholston and Grant Coleman, both of whom scored 16 points. Josh Thomas added 10 points of his own.
Early on it was clear that Robert Morris was missing two of its upperclassmen leaders as the team was not finding consistency
Neither team had much offensive success in the first half as Robert Morris shot 33.3% from the field and was 1-for-7 on its three-point shots, while Milwaukee fired at a 30.8% clip.
Robert Morris appeared to have a breakthrough when it retook the lead aided by a 10-0 run.
During this run, RMU was able to follow each other’s missed finding ways through Milwaukee’s box-out attempts.
On one sequence, RMU’s Olisa Ngonadi was able to block a Panthers shot and Bramah was rewarded for running the floor in transition with a high-percentage basket.
At halftime, Robert Morris led 30-29. It held a 16-4 advantage in the paint and also earned a 13-0 second-chance points margin.
Coleman opened the second half with two three-point baskets for Milwaukee which had RMU coach Andy Toole furious.
As Robert Morris settled down the lead went back-and-forth with Coleman burying another three which put Milwaukee back in front.
RMU was consistent in fouls as it committed 10 in the first half and Milwaukee again was in the bonus in the second half.
During the middle stages of the half, it got stuck in an offensive dry spell and during those few minutes, the bench was silent with the coaches and trainer staff providing the vocal support, though after a defensive stop the sideline picked up its vocality.
As Robert Morris overcame another three-minute dry spell it was able to tie the game as freshman guard Trayden Williams buried a three-point shot.
In the closing minute with the score tied at 61, Bramah took a deep two that went in giving RMU the lead.
After a Milwaukee timeout, Robert Morris successfully forced a turnover and took over possession.
Milwaukee first committed its foul to give which activated a bonus opportunity. Robert Morris then called a timeout and the Panthers were not prepared for a quick play out of timeout which ended up with Kahlil Spear converting a basket and being fouled.
Milwaukee was unable to complete a comeback as a Josh Thomas three-point shot hit the backboard and went out of bounds.
These two teams will face each other again Saturday at 5 p.m.