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Robert Morris Basketball

YSU Dominates Robert Morris in Second Half, Colonials fall 78-56 in Youngstown

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Robert Morris began a stretch facing five of its next six games on the road Thursday night in Youngstown, Ohio. The Colonials won its previous two games against the Penguins, both in Youngstown, but were no match for the Penguins’ offensive attack. 

RMU controlled the first 16-18 minutes of play before YSU dominated the remaining minutes. The Colonials (7-9, 2-3 Horizon League) lost their second-straight conference game to an Ohio team, falling 78-56 to YSU after an 11-point loss facing Cleveland State on New Year’s Eve.

Youngstown State entered action averaging almost 19 more points per game than the Colonials. The fifth-best conference team according to the Horizon League preseason poll, YSU won five of its first seven games including a seven-point loss at Notre Dame. 

The offense clicked early for RMU as the Colonials doubled up the Penguins’ score, 12-6, six minutes into play. RMU continued to lead 14-10 at the under-12 media timeout but started to falter in taking care of the basketball. Turnovers led to Penguin points and eventually materialized into a first-half lead with about two minutes remaining.

Michael Green III connected on a nifty bounce pass through defenders to find Matt Mayers for his second dunk of the game and create a 20-14 score into the under-eight timeout.

Containing four players averaging over 10 points per contest, Youngstown State was limited to 17 points in the first 16 minutes and struggled from the field.  Robert Morris led 22-17 at the under-four media timeout before the Penguin offense came alive.

Senior guard Dwayne Cohill entered action averaging a team-best 18.1 points and ended the three-point drought with close to three minutes remaining. Josh Corbin answered with a long-range three with a hand in his face. Another three by Brandon Rush and two free throws by Bryce McBride gave YSU its first lead entering two minutes. 

The Penguins ended the half on a 12-3 run during the final four minutes entering the break ahead 29-25. Cohill caught fire near the end of action, pacing all players with eight points. YSU improved its shooting from a 33% clip during the drought to 40% after 20 minutes. The host team also made it last two threes following seven-straight misses.

RMU shot 11-of-23 (47.8%) but struggled from deep as well, making 1-of-6 (16.7%) attempts. The Colonials out-rebounded YSU 18-11 with two of the three total offensive rebounds. What allowed the Penguins to stay close and pull ahead by four was turnovers. RMU gave it to YSU 10 times and did not force a steal. YSU only turned it over twice and forced seven steals. 

Mayers paced RMU in points (6) and rebounds (4) while Jackson Last added two rebounds and two assists but four turnovers. Kahliel Spear also totaled four boards but only two points while Enoch Cheeks added four. Corbin scored five in 17 minutes.

YSU carried its favorable shooting into the resumption of play as Malek Green, a 28.6% three-point shooter, sank a step-back triple before the buzzer to extend the advantage, 38-31, with 15:51 to go. The ‘Guins jumped out to a 46-33 advantage forcing an RMU timeout.

Stephaun Walker responded by spinning into a contested layup, drawing a foul, and converting a three-point play. It was quickly erased on the other end. Cohill connected on another three before RMU turned the ball over again leading to additional Penguin points. 

YSU led by 16 at the under-12 media timeout as the RMU advantage appeared long in the past. It shrunk to 14 entering a timeout called by the Penguins with 9:39 remaining and rose by five more in 10 seconds after play resumed.

The Colonials were no match for the Penguins’ shooting abilities and ability to create off the dribble. YSU continued to push the score up and outplayed RMU down the stretch, leading 76-48 at the final media timeout with 3:52 remaining. 

Youngstown State dominated Robert Morris as threes rained from the Beeghly Center. Cohill exited the floor at the 4:45 mark scoring a game-best 23 points. Garrett Covington found his range behind the arc, delivering three triples off the bench. Brandon Rush added 14 points and Green 12. 

Despite shooting 48.1%, the Colonials ended their chances by shooting 1-of-10 from three, losing the turnover battle (15-5), and YSU grabbing 12 total steals. The Penguins capitalized on 18 points off turnovers and shot 9-of-13 for three after missing their first seven.

Walker was one of the most productive Colonials, scoring 11 points and grabbing two offensive boards. Cheeks paced RMU, scoring 16, while Spear totaled both eight points and rebounds. Corbin scored less than 10 points for the third-straight game. 

Robert Morris returns to the UPMC Events Center Monday at 7 p.m. against IUPUI. 

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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