Robert Morris embarked on the third of a four-game road trip Thursday night against one of the Horizon League’s top teams. The Colonials faced the Milwaukee Panthers, slotted tied for second in conference play.
RMU (8-12, 3-6 Horizon League) kept action close throughout the second half and grabbed the lead on numerous occasions before falling short against Milwaukee (13-6, 7-2) by a 77-69 score. The Colonials have now lost three-straight conference games and are winless on the road in 2023 through four games.
Milwaukee grabbed control of the game after trailing 8-4 with a 21-5 run and positioned the team in a good place to maintain the advantage as multiple contributors played a vital role. BJ Freeman led the charge, scoring a game-high 13 first-half points on 4-of-20 shooting.
The Colonials fought back to cut the deficit to two, 40-38, with a minute remaining. Two free throws by Jalen Johnson pushed the lead back to four and reach a 42-38 score following 20 minutes of play.
RMU has been waiting for Jackson Last to find his grove on the offensive end. A defensive communicator and anchor for Andy Toole, Last showed up in the offensive box score. He totaled eight points as well as two rebounds and two assists through one half.
Josh Corbin paced RMU with nine points on 3-of-4 shots, all from behind the ac. Michael Green III chipped in eight points off the bench as the Colonials found a late offensive charge to shoot 43.8% overall in the half including 8-of-18 (44.4%) from three. Spear added six points and six rebounds plus two assists.
Milwaukee totaled a 46.7% mark and made 50% of its threes on 10 attempts. Markeith Browning II entered averaging 9.9 points per game and nearly reached his pace with nine. 7-foot-1 center Moses Bol added eight points on 3-of-3 shooting off the bench.
Both teams tied in assists (8) and steals (3) while RMU committed seven turnovers and out-rebounded Milwaukee 19-17.
The second half provided no favors for the Colonials. Robert Morris was outscored 35-31 in the final 20 minutes and never materialized enough stops on the defensive end. RMU tied the game at 42, 54, 58, and 60 before grabbing a 61-60 lead with 8:13 remaining on two Spear free throws.
A Justin Thomas dunk gave the Panthers the advantage back but would not hold the remainder of play. A Last triple tied the game again at 64 and a layup by Spear gave RMU a two-point lead. The Colonials were never in front again as Freeman, Bol, and Elijah Jamison sealed the victory for Milwaukee.
RMU only made nine field goals in the second half, shooting 24.3%, and finished at a 33.3% clip from the field overall plus 4-of-17 (23.5%) from three-point land. Last and Enoch Cheeks dealt with foul trouble down the stretch as Cheeks struggled, scoring nine points on 3-of-11 attempts.
Last picked up the offense with 14 points and an impressive seven offensive rebounds. Spear paced RMU at 20 points, posting another double-double with 13 rebounds. Green and Corbin also posted double figures at 11 points. RMU made all 11 free throws it attempted and committed 21 fouls compared to nine for Milwaukee.
The Panthers finished at 45.3% from the floor and were led by 26 points and seven rebounds from Freeman. Browning added 13 points and six rebounds while Bol shot a perfect 4-for-4 totaling 10 points.
Robert Morris ends its four-game stint away from home on Saturday against Green Bay beginning at 7 p.m.