Robert Morris men’s basketball looked to win two straight for the first time during the 2021-22 season after defeating St. Francis December 22.
The Colonials (2-10, 0-2) took on conference foe Oakland (8-4, 3-0) ) in the final game of the calendar year, dropping their 10th contest of the season 79-61.
Oakland opened as 12.5-point favorites as Horizon League play begins to ramp up.
The entire first half was a back-and-forth affair with Oakland leading by no more than seven.
RMU never held the lead in the first 20 minutes and played very efficiently, shooting just under 58% and 44% behind the arc.
Oakland put up seven more attempts than RMU, recording over a 48% clip from the field and just under 31% from deep.
The Golden Grizzlies carried a 41-38 score into the break, recording double the steals of their opponent with six.
RMU has struggled on the glass throughout the year, tied 13-13 at half, but lost the offensive rebounding battle 5-1.
Head coach Andy Toole has continued to stress more consistent play, especially on the glass, as a critical avenue to success moving forward.
Kam Farris and Jaron Williams lead the Colonials with eight points apiece along with six from Matt Mayers and Kahliel Spear, who was 3-3 in the early going.
Sophomore guard Chase Cool also saw increased playing time off the bench.
Trey Townsend and Jamal Cain paced Oakland scoring 12 points each to lead the charge for all scorers.
The first five minutes of the second half were one in the same as Oakland still possessed a three-point advantage and 15 minutes remaining.
Spear reached a second gear in the second half, as he’s been prone to do, and helped RMU in the early portion but Oakland pulled away in the final 10 minutes.
The Golden Grizzlies extended their lead to double figures with 12:30 left and never looked back.
The deficit turned to 20 with just under a minute left as RMU never had a chance once Oakland found a new gear and finally found success offensively.
RMU played well in the first half but a lack of separation on the scoreboard compared to the stat sheet made the difference.
Toole’s team finished losing the turnover battle 14-10 and clash at the boards 37-33.
RMU went into a slump offensively that cannot be understated, dropping to 40% and 23% from three.
Cain totaled a game-high 22 points and 14 rebounds along with 18 points for Townsend to lead the Golden Grizzlies.
Oakland improved their shooting to 48% in the victory.
14 for Farris and 12 from Williams were the highs for RMU as the second half continues to be an issue. Mayers and Spear both totaled seven rebounds with Robert Morris scrapping for answers.
Oakland outscored RMU 38-23 in the second half en route to the 18 point win.
The Colonials game against Detroit Mercy scheduled for New Year’s Day was cancelled due to COVID-19 issues in the Titans program.
RMU returns to action Wednesday to ring in the new year against Youngstown State at the UPMC Events Center beginning at 7 p.m.