Robert Morris embarked on its second to last non-conference game of the season Sunday. The Colonials faced Mount St. Mary’s in Emmitsburg, Maryland, renewing an old rivalry from the team’s Northeast Conference days.
RMU, now in the Horizon League, and Mount St. Mary’s, a first-year member of the MAAC, traded baskets through the afternoon in a back-and-forth affair.
In the end, the 2020 NEC champions came out on top. The defense defined the RMU (5-7) victory, but the offense stepped up late in a 68-59 win against The Mount (5-7).
The Colonials made 11-of-28 (39.3%) in the first half but 4-of-8 (50%) shots behind the three-point arc. All four triples were connected by Josh Corbin, leading the team with 12 first-half points.
Enoch Cheeks recorded more rebounds (8) than points (7) while shooting 2-of-9 including a missed three. Kahliel Spear dealt with foul trouble, limiting him to four points and one rebound. Matt Mayers added five points and two boards off the bench.
Knotted up at 32 apiece after 20 minutes of play, the Mountaineers totaled a 42.4% shooting clip from the field but only hit on 2-of-10 (20%) three-pointers.
Malik Jefferson and Dakota Leffew paced Mount St. Mary’s, each scoring eight points. Jefferson added four rebounds while Leffew distributed three assists and made two threes.
RMU outrebounded the Mountaineers 21-16 in the first half and 7-5 on the offensive boards. The Colonials did record seven turnovers but out blocked The Mount 4-0.
The second half shifted entirely in RMU’s direction down the final five minutes. Mount St. Mary’s led 55-54 with 5:24 remaining in the game. The Mountaineers never saw the advantage again. RMU finished the game on a 14-4 run on the back of Cheeks and Spear. The duo scored 12 of the final 14 points.
Corbin led all scorers with 20 points on 6-of-10 three-pointers. Cheeks recorded a double-double, totaling 19 points and 10 rebounds. Spear rounded out the three-headed monster scoring 11 points as the team combined to shoot 42.9% from the field and 9-of-17 (52.9%) from three.
Jefferson (15 points) and Leffew (12 points) paced the Mountaineers’ attack that could not capitalize down the stretch. Xavier Lipscomb added 12 points in 27 minutes off the bench, making half of Mount St. Mary’s 4-of-18 (22.2%) shots behind the arc. The team finished shooting 39.3% and was outrebounded 40-32.
Head coach Andy Toole and senior guard Michael Green III both were charged technicals in the matchup. Green scored four points and led all scorers contributing six assists.
Officially an upset – Mount St. Mary’s was favored by three at game time – the Colonials overcame 13 turnovers and five missed free throws by a terrific day by Corbin from deep and lockdown defense when it mattered most.
Robert Morris hosts St. Francis Wednesday night at 7 p.m. before the heart of Horizon League play begins.