Playing sloppy and being dominated in every aspect of play Friday at Purdue Fort Wayne, Robert Morris men’s basketball looked to pick up the pieces Sunday afternoon in Ohio.
This season has been a challenging one from the very start, entering the day 12 games under .500 and lacking consistency in any aspect of success.
The Colonials (3-16, 1-9 Horizon League) looked to flip the script against Horizon League leading Cleveland State (13.4, 9-1), but could not finish the job in the final minutes losing 75-68.
Robert Morris held the lead at the conclusion of 20 minutes and opened eyes across the conference. Michael Green III led the way with eight points along with seven from both Enoch Cheeks and Brandon Stone.
Stone has been up and down the entire season but stands strong at 6’11’’ and was a noticeable factor in the first half.
Green III and Cheeks have been dependable starters, especially Green III, but the Colonials have found ways to throw games away with a lack of execution in the latter portions of the second half.
Robert Morris dominated the glass in the first half, delivering a staggering 24-10 advantage and 12-4 differential on the offensive boards. Kahliel Spear totaled six rebounds with one of RMU’s most significant weaknesses being the propeller to a strong start.
RMU shot over 43% from the field and made 4-10 from behind the arc while only turning it over six times compared to 21 total on Friday.
Guard Torrey Patton scored eight points on 3-4 shooting to guide Cleveland State, who shot 40% as a team and entered early foul trouble to put the Colonials at the line frequently.
The Vikings began to close the gap in the second half and never looked back.
Entering as 13-point favorites, Cleveland State had their hands full with the Colonials pursuit on the glass.
Robert Morris could not find the same success offensively in the second half. The team failed to take care of the ball and stumbled over their own feet with 19 total turnovers.
Needing a flawless effort the entire way to knock off Cleveland State, RMU still crushed their opponent 44-27 on the boards but missed six opportunities at the free-throw line. The Vikings were especially bad at the charity stripe, 23-37, but found a way on their home floor to control the pace and take better shots.
Multiple players stepped up for Cleveland State to accomplish the comeback victory. D’Moi Hodge emerged to lead all scorers with 22 points and Patton was one behind totaling 21 and five assists.
The third guard to make a difference was Tre Gomillion with 19 as the team shot just over 45% for the game.
Stone paced RMU with 14 points off the bench thanks to 5-7 shooting. Cheeks and Green III scored 13 apiece but Green III struggled in the second half.
Robert Morris returns to the UPMC Events Center Thursday hosting Milwaukee at 7 p.m.