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Robert Morris Basketball

Colonials Survive Late Surge by IUPUI, Defeat the Jaguars 77-70



IUPUI entered Moon Township as KenPom’s worst team in college basketball at No. 363 overall. It did not play like it in the second half and provided a scare for the Colonials in Hoop Township. 

RMU (8-9, 3-3 Horizon League) made its free throws when they mattered most and held on to secure a 77-70 victory against IUPUI (3-14, 0-6), who is still looking for its first conference win.

Robert Morris and IUPUI combined to make the game’s first nine shots and previewed a productive offensive output. 

The Jaguars led early but would not stay ahead for long. The only Horizon League team without a conference victory, IUPUI went ahead 11-9 at the first media timeout. RMU countered with a 4-0 run to force an IUPUI timeout.  The visitors wouldn’t see the lead again.

RMU pushed the advantage to 19-14 and 21-16 at the next two scheduled breaks, already in the bonus with eight minutes to play in the first half. The Colonials shot 7-of-9 (77.8%) spanning the first eight minutes. 

The Colonial offense picked up steam in the final six minutes plus. IUPUI called a timeout following another RMU scoring run that paused the score at 28-19. A nine-point lead became 10, 32-22, with 3:24 left in the half. 

Kahliel Spear and Enoch Cheeks commanded the first half en route to a 44-29 advantage following 20 minutes. Spear led all players in points (15) and rebounds (7) while Cheeks and Josh Corbin both totaled 11 points apiece.

Robert Morris shot 15-of-25 (60%) and 5-of-11 (45.5%) from three to lead by 15. IUPUI totaled a 39.3% clip from the field and made two triples on five attempts. The Jaguars were plagued by 10 turnovers, doubling RMU’s number and giving up 14 points off of them. Chris Osten paced IUPUI, scoring 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting. Osten is averaging 8.9 points per game, playing for his fifth different team in six years. Jlynn Counter countered with 10 points and four turnovers.

The ability to attack inside and play physical defense on the other end assisted RMU throughout the night. Andy Toole’s team did experience a few rough patches associated with play. The Colonial lead slowly shrunk in the next 10 minutes.

RMU led 46-35 at the under-16 timeout before IUPUI strung together a run of points, cutting the deficit to six at 49-43 at the 11:09 mark. At the time, RMU was shooting 16.7% while the Jaguars converted 41.7%. 

IUPUI made it a three-point game before Josh Corbin responded with a straight-away triple of his own. Freshman guard Vincent Brady helped guide the comeback, answering right back with a three followed by an Amhad Jarrard long ball. The back-to-back triples forced an Andy Toole timeout with 8:04 remaining and the Colonials clinging to a 53-52 advantage.

The game became much closer than it should have been for the Colonials. IUPUI and RMU continued to trade baskets and counter each other, punch by punch. The Jaguars tied the game at 61 all, approaching four minutes, on an Osten basket. Osten scored again following a Matt Mayers layup but was quickly erased by a Cheeks three. 

The pace and speed of the game ramped up scoring in spurts. Missed free throws played a factor as well as failed opportunities to finish on the offensive end sunk the sails of IUPUI. Spear and Michael Green III converted at the line to finish the game and hand the Colonials their first-ever home victory against the Jaguars.

IUPUI shot 46.2% for the night and 5-of-14 (35.7%) from deep. The Jaguars out-rebounded RMU 35-26 and 18-12 in the second half including three offensive boards.

17 turnovers crushed any momentum the team could build offensively, last leading at the 14:19 mark of the first half. Osten paced the Jaguars in scoring with 21 points on 8-of-10 shooting. Counter finished with 14 and Daylan Hamilton chipped in 11 in 13 minutes off the bench.

Spear posted a double-double with game-highs in points (22) and boards (10) while also forcing two steals. Corbin and Cheeks both scored 16 each. Green totaled a double-double as well, recording 12 points and 11 assists as the Colonials shot 48.9% as a team, making seven triples.

Matt Crenshaw has now lost 40 of his first 46 games as IUPUI head coach. 

Robert Morris begins a four-game road trip Thursday at Oakland with the action beginning at 7 p.m. 

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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19 days ago

Rmu moving to the middle of the pack in the horizon league

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