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Robert Morris Basketball

Takeaways from RMU’s 74-70 OT Loss to Mount St. Mary’s

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Robert Morris still has a lot of work to do in order to earn its first win of the season.

The Colonials dropped their home opener 74-70 in overtime Friday night to former NEC rival Mount St. Mary’s. 

RMU currently sits at 0-4 despite playing their best game of the year in many respects, losing its best chance yet at a win.

In Need of a Closer

RMU controlled the game for most of the first 30 minutes, but fell apart late in the second half. The Colonials blew a 17-point lead to drop their fourth straight. 

“We took our foot off the pedal, unfortunately,” head coach Andy Toole said.. “I got to figure out a way to get these guys to understand every possession matters for 40 minutes.”

Robert Morris had many opportunities, but never pulled away and shut the door on The Mount’s chances. An inability to hit shots for long stretches of time did the Colonials in, failing to find one player who could hit a few shots to seal it.

Spear is the Team Anchor

Kahliel Spear displayed a strong defensive presence the senior forward displayed flashes of last season. Spear registered 14 points and 11 rebounds despite second-half foul trouble.

He is an emotional leader on the floor and has been around the program longer than almost anyone on the roster despite only being his second year at Robert Morris. Spear and Enoch Cheeks are the only current Colonials seeing minutes who were active members of the team during the 2020-21 campaign.

Spear is a dynamic player with a high motor and physical toughness, but lacks the ability to hit jump shots, creating most of his offense around the basket. He needs to try and create more offensively on the fast break for additional transition plays.

Amir Spears (23) – November 15, 2021 David Hague/PSN

Lacking Three Pointers

Robert Morris has struggled this season to find threats from behind the arc. In years past, the Williams brothers of Josh and Jon masked the issue by hitting threes when RMU needed it.

This year’s team has failed to find that type of player so far as five three pointers were sunk by five different scorers. The Mount hit a critical three with less than two seconds remaining to go to overtime, but RMU doesn’t have someone who has shown the ability to do the same.

Comfort within the system might be one thing for the nine new impact players entering the program, but at some point RMU needs to find an identity whether it includes shots from deep or not.

Missing Pieces

Sophomore guard Kam Farris and La Salle transfer big Brandon Stone both missed the home opener and have missed all four games.

Farris recorded over eight points-per-game last year and cracked the starting lineup on numerous occasions. He can hit three pointers and is a solid ball handler who could factor in well as one of three main holdovers from a year ago.

Stone provides Toole with size and strength inside the paint. The junior forward sat out last season and did not appear much as a freshman at La Salle. Stone might also provide a spark the Colonials are missing.

Home Cooking

Fans returned to the UPMC Events Center for the first time in 619 days due to the pandemic, with the last game being the 2020 NEC Championship against St. Francis.

Toole said it was good to have fans back, but knows that success is the key to obtaining a packed house.

The student section had a decent showing, but the remainder of the venue was filled with empty seats. Wins could bring the fans back and see their team for the first time represented in the Horizon League.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker

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