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Robert Morris Basketball

Kahliel Spear Scores Career-High 30 Points in an RMU Uniform, Colonials Defeat Oakland 68-63



MOON TOWNSHIP- In an era of basketball full of high-scoring games and a high volume of three-point baskets, it took 14 minutes for the light to turn on at the UPMC Events Center. And for Kahliel Spear to heat up. Robert Morris welcomed Oakland to the UPMC Events Center for a Sunday afternoon showdown in Hoop Township.

On the back of a career-high 30 points from Spear, RMU (11-12, 6-6 Horizon League) took care of business 68-63 against Oakland (9-14, 7-5) to move back to .500 in conference play. The fifth-year forward became the 27th RMU player to score 1,000 points in a Colonial uniform. 

The Colonials shot 28% 10 minutes into the game while Oakland was progressively worse, shooting only 21% in a matchup with 15 total points. 

Spear rocked the rim with just over eight minutes remaining in the first half to put RMU in double figures at 11 points. Josh Corbin found Spear cutting to the basket for a wide-open flush the next time down the floor, sparking the Colonials’ offense to wake up from hibernation. 

Spear powered RMU once again by grabbing an offensive rebound, finding the bottom of the basket despite being fouled, and splashing in the ensuing free throw to convert a three-point play. 

Two ties and four lead changes defined a two-point first half as RMU carried a 29-27 advantage to the locker room. 

Oakland significantly improved its offense late in the first half, scoring 18 of its 27 points before the break in the final six minutes. The Golden Grizzles shot 11-of-27 (40.7%) through 20 minutes and 2-of-8 (25%) from three. Oakland crushed RMU in fastbreak points, outsourcing the Colonials 11-0. Jalen Moore (11) and Rocket Watts (9) guided the Oakland scoring. 

Robert Morris converted on 12-of-31 (38.7%) field-goal attempts and struggled from three, registering a 2-of-13 (15.4%) mark. RMU out-rebounded Oakland 21-15 and 6-2 on the offensive glass. Turnovers played a slight factor but were fairly balanced (7-6 Oakland advantage). Jalen Moore (11) and Rocket Watts (9) guided the Golden Grizzlies’ offense.

Spear controlled the first half for RMU, totaling 14 points to lead all players. Stephaun Walker added six points and nine rebounds. 

RMU extended the lead to 42-35 at the first media timeout following the break. Spear drained back-to-back threes following the break in action to reach a career-high 28 points and counting in an RMU uniform, breaking his previous season-high of 27 against Wright State. 

Walker dealt with foul trouble throughout the game and picked up his fourth 11 and a half minutes into the second. The Colonials led 51-41 and controlled the scoreboard for the remainder of play. Oakland used a timeout a minute and a half later, cutting the deficit to seven, as RMU fouls continued to add up. 

Michael Green III splashed in a critical three as the lead was four to push the advantage back to seven, 66-59, entering the final media timeout. 

Oakland depended on a 4-0 run to make it a one-possession game with one minute remaining. A missed layup by Green was followed by a great defensive effort from Jackson last to force an Oakland miss. 

The Colonials played solid defensively to seal the deal in the final minute as Moore missed on two opportunities to tie the game at 66. 

Moore and Trey Townsend played all 40 minutes in the loss. Moore scored 24 points, grabbed seven rebounds, and dished four assists as well as totaling three steals and looked visibly exhausted following the performance. Watts added 13 points and Keaton Hervey scored 12 as Oakland shot 42.6% and 5-of-15 (26.3%) from behind the arc.

Spear posted a double-double with 30 points and 11 rebounds, four on the offensive glass, to push the Colonials to victory. Walker added three offensive rebounds of his nine total. Green recorded five points and a game-high eight assists. Robert Morris shot 44.8% and 7-of-25 (28%) from deep. RMU overcame losing the turnover battle 13-9 and totaled 19 assists against Oakland’s zone defense.

Jackson Last posted a solid game for head coach Andy Toole. The transfer guard recorded nine points, four rebounds, and a block while playing tough defensively. 

RMU begins the second half of a four-game homestand Thursday against Northern Kentucky at 7 p.m.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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