MOON TOWNSHIP, Pa. — Robert Morris fell to Youngstown State at home in overtime, on Friday night at UPMC Events Center extending its losing streak to seven games.
Despite a magical buzzer-beating, game-tying three at the end of regulation by Jon Williams, Robert Morris could not quite pick it up in the extra period, falling 84-78 to the Penguins.
With just 2.8 seconds remaining in regulation, Robert Morris trailed by three, 71-68. The Colonials had stuck around all game, led by AJ Bramah and junior Kahliel Spear. In the final stages of the game, they looked to another veteran, Williams, to step up and keep them in the game.
The 6-foot-1 guard caught the inbounds pass, pump-faked his defender out of the way, and calmly knocked down his fourth 3-pointer of the game, sending the game to overtime.
— George Michalowski (@MichalowskiCBB) February 6, 2021
In the extra period, Robert Morris was outscored 12-7, falling yet again in another nail-biting conference matchup.
“We battled, we battled, we battled,” RMU head coach Andy Toole said after the game. “Not able to make the plays, not able to get the stops, and it is really frustrating. We are trying to continue to fight, continue to work, continue to stay together, but it is a challenge for sure. We’ve got to bounce back tomorrow and try and be a little bit better and a little bit smarter than we were tonight, but this one hurts.”
To start the second half, Youngstown State came out on an 18-4 run, and it appeared as though RMU would lose another conference matchup after leading at the break.
To stop the bleeding, the Colonials looked to Spear to take over, and he did just that. The 6-foot-7 junior hit three-straight buckets for the Colonials, including a three, to cut the lead to two with ten minutes remaining. He finished the game with 17 points, three rebounds, three blocks, and three steals, an all-around solid game.
“I thought Kahliel did a lot of really good things,” Toole said. “He made a lot of really good plays. You know, we never really necessarily say we want to get this guy going per say, we want to have a really balanced offense, we want to make sure that the ball is getting to the right people and the right places. We trust that guys will be able to step up and make some shots and he was the guy that was the recipient of a lot of that tonight.”
Overall, Robert Morris (3-10, 2-8 Horizon) had a very balanced scoring attack in this one, with four players scoring at least 12 points. Other than Spear and Bramah, Williams finished with 12 points and nine assists, while Enoch Cheeks also contributed 12 points.
Bramah, the Horizon League’s leading scorer, appeared shaken up after making a layup near the end of the first half. However, whatever it was that caused him to miss some time was not enough to keep him off the court entirely, as he finished with 20 points and 11 rebounds.
“I can’t really talk too much about it because of privacy,” Toole said when asked what was going on with Bramah. “But again, this year physically for our guys has been a struggle. Some of those physical challenges then present some mental frustration as well. Our guys want to be playing at the level that they know they are capable of and feeling the way that they’re used to feeling on the court and that’s been a hard thing for them this year. But to their credit, they continued to battle.”
Youngstown State (9-10, 5-10 Horizon) was led by Naz Bohannon, the team’s leading scorer on the season, who finished with 18 points, seven rebounds, and five assists.
Robert Morris will look to bounce back Saturday evening at 5 p.m. when they will face the Penguins for the second straight night in Moon Township.