MOON TWP, Pa. — For the final time during the 2021-22 regular season, Robert Morris men’s basketball took center stage at the UPMC Events Center.
The Colonials hosted UIC to close out the home schedule while celebrating two senior managers on senior day. Seniors Kahliel Spear and Jaron Williams were not recognized and have one season of eligibility remaining.
Spear displayed he could continue to be a valuable threat moving forward, but wasn’t enough for Robert Morris. UIC (11-15, 7-10 Horizon League) took care of RMU (7-21, 5-14) 96-88 in overtime.
UIC started the game by doubling up the Colonials 12-6 at the first media timeout. RMU responded with an 8-2 run to tie it at 14 and force a Flames timeout just over a minute later.
RMU was in control 18-14 at the next media timeout and showed good ball movement on the offensive end.
Spear was fouled shooting behind the arc out of the timeout and sunk all three foul shots to push the RMU lead further.
Robert Morris reached seven total team fouls with 10:51 remaining in the half and put the team behind the eight ball with early foul issues.
The visitors reached the double bonus entering the under-eight timeout on the floor with 6:34 on the clock and UIC’s Michael Diggins making two.
Entering the timeout up by three at 30-27, Robert Morris fought hard the remainder of the half despite good opportunities for the Flames.
Michael Green III played well, but Spear was the centerpiece behind the Colonial attack. Spear compiled 11 points, the most by any player, heading into the final media timeout of the half with under four minutes to go.
The Colonials led 37-33 before Green III committed his third foul on a Jace Carter made basket.
Spear picked up his second foul on the next Flames possession when Carter attempted to throw down a massive slam, but instead hit two foul shots and was followed by a Spear dunk of his own.
The lead continued to change hands due to Spear and Carter trading offensive punches.
UIC catapulted themselves into the lead 45-44 to conclude the first 20 minutes of play.
RMU shot an impressive 57.7% but missed on all four three-point attempts. A combined 26-31 free throws were made by both teams due to 23 total fouls in the first half.
UIC completed a 48.3% mark as both teams were efficient in a relatively high-scoring half of action.
The 6-foot-7 Spear led the way totaling 16 points and Matt Mayers adding seven. Brandon Stone brought down five rebounds and chipped in six points.
13 points for Zion Griffin was the most for UIC by a large margin. Carter and Damaria Franklin both scored seven apiece.
The battle for the second half was back and forth once again to begin play. Trading baskets was the name of the game entering the first timeout on the floor with RMU leading 54-52.
Green III was a big reason why, but it remained Spear being the most productive and exciting player to watch for either side.
A Stone pass to Spear off an offensive rebound set up an electric wide-open dunk. Spear once again finished close to the basket the next time down the floor.
RMU built the lead to 11 nearing 11 minutes left with the bounces falling the Colonials’ way on the glass. The home team remained on top 65-56 with 9:36 left in the game and looked like a completely different team than the one who lost to IUPUI, who was 0-13 in the Horizon League before taking down RMU.
A few turnovers out of the break spun RMU into a less opportune position but Green III quickly answered connecting on a three.
One of the bright sides of the night was a contestant on the floor sinking all four corn hole bags he attempted on the floor. It was reflective of the night for the RMU community.
The Colonials led 76-66 with just over five minutes left in the game but was met by a UIC comeback.
Stone went to the free-throw line with his team out in front 78-72 and 3:22 remaining on the clock. The big man hit only one and was followed by a Franklin triple and ensuing UIC timeout training 79-75.
UIC would not away. After cutting the deficit to three, Jamie Ahale connected on a clutch nothing-but-net three next to the Flames’ bench to tie it at 81.
Green III followed up with a floater in the lane but a steal and score from Carter once again tied it. Green III missed a shot with four seconds left to win it and force overtime knotted at 83.
UIC scored the first seven points capped by a Carter corner three. RMU answered with two Farris free throws, but Franklin connected on a dagger three with the shot clock expiring to make it a 93-85 game and under a minute remaining. Stone answered with 46.6 left.
The Flames ignited the Colonials and would not leave the door open for an RMU comeback.
RMU finished the night with a field-goal percentage of 53.2% and 4-of-15 from three. UIC collected 36 rebounds compared to 33 for RMU but the Colonials were in front for 31:01 overall in the game, a total of 68.9% of the night.
There were 40 total fouls and UIC recorded a 50.7% mark from the field.
Franklin scored a game-high 28 points followed up by 27 from Griffin. Carter also capped at 16 points. 24 from Spear was the most for any RMU player. Stone (16), Green III (14), and Cheeks (11) were all in double figures.
RMU is at Northern Kentucky on Thursday before going to Wright State next Saturday to close out the 2021-22 Horizon League regular season.