Robert Morris Basketball
Wright State Ends on 22-5 Run to Defeat Robert Morris 82-67
MOON TOWNSHIP- Robert Morris men’s basketball hosted Wright State Saturday night in a battle for conference seeding inside the UPMC Events Center. Both entering at 6-7 in Horizon League play, the Colonials and Raiders looked to separate from themselves, both tied for seventh place.
The Raiders reigned victorious in Hoop Township on the back of 24 points from Trey Calvin and a double-double recorded by Brandon Noel in an 82-67 win. 55 of Wright State’s 82 points were scored in the paint.
A balanced attack told the story of a back-and-forth first half of action. Josh Corbin connected on back-to-back threes to spark the RMU (11-14, 6-8 Horizon League) offense but remained relatively quiet the rest of the night. RMU began the game hot as both teams capitalized on different philosophies.
Wright State (14-11, 7-7 Horizon League) relied on scoring close to the basket, totaling 16 of its first 20 points in the paint and the majority on layups. The Raiders led 20-18 through eight minutes of play and would hold the advantage for four minutes longer than RMU did in the first half.
RMU trailed 24-23 at the under-eight media timeout as the Raiders shot 61% from the floor after 12 minutes. The Colonials tied the score at 31 as Wright State’s shooting mark dropped to 52%, but turned a corner in the final three minutes and change.
Enoch Cheeks connected on a contested reverse layup to tie the game at 25 with under seven minutes remaining in the first half. Spear followed with a deep triple as RMU took the lead back.
Wright State ended the half on a 10-3 run to close the first 20 minutes and take a 41-34 advantage to the locker room. The Raiders totaled a 19-of-33 (57.6%) shopping clip but came up empty in three opportunities from three. Points in the paint told the story of Wright State’s seven-point lead. RMU was handled inside the paint 32-14 and 7-2 in second-chance points. The Raiders also owned a sizable advantage off the bench (16-4).
Four players scored six points or more for Wright State. Led by 10 points and five rebounds from AJ Braun, the Raiders received nine points and five bounds (three offensive) from Tim Finke, eight credited to Calvin, and six for Noel.
RMU shot 14-of-31 (45.2%) including 4-of-12 (33.3%) from behind the arc. Cheeks and Kahliel Spear both played 19 of the first 20 minutes. Spear totaled eight points and six rebounds while Cheeks scored a team-high nine. Corbin added eight as Andy Toole’s team compiled six assists and six turnovers before action resumed.
Wright State continued its offensive barrage into the second half. Noel heated up to score six early points and push the lead up to 53-43 at the under-16 media timeout. Cheeks fought back on the other end and began to find his shooting stroke. The dynamic duo of Cheeks and Spear once again kept the Colonials alive when Wright State had opportunities to pull away.
Cheeks connected on a three-point play to put the Colonials on a 6-0 run that became seven and a 53-51 score. A few trips down the floor later, Matt Mayers scored and was fouled but missed the ensuing free throw. On the next two trips offensively, Michael Green III took over. Green drained a triple to put RMU ahead by one before displaying a nifty move to convert an open layup and already reach his scoring average.
The UPMC Events Center was completely rejuvenated with energy as RMU led 62-60 with seven minutes remaining, coming back from being down by as much as 14 points.
The Raiders’ success in the paint wore off as shots rattled off the rim. Stephaun Walker played tough around the rim and muscled his way to tough baskets down low. Noel did the same for Wright State, creating second and even third opportunities for the Raiders to convert. With just over three minutes remaining, Noel continued to put the team on his back. The Raiders went ahead 70-66 in the final four minutes and capitalized on an 8-0 run to follow.
Wright State ended the game on a 22-5 run in the final seven minutes to win by 15. Calvin’s 24 points were the most by any player as four members reached double figures. Noel added 16 points and 15 rebounds as the Raiders out-rebounded RMU 45-35. The Raiders shot 52% for the game despite only 2-of-9 (22%) from three.
Spear finished with his third-straight double-double, totaling both 11 points and rebounds. Cheeks scored a team-best 21 points in 38 minutes as he and Spear played 19 minutes in each half. Walker added 10 points and three of his five rebounds on the offensive end. The Colonials shot 27-of-67 (40.3%) and 36% in the second half. RMU made six triples on 24 attempts, finishing the second half 2-of-12.
Robert Morris begins a two-game road trip Friday night against Cleveland State beginning at 7 p.m.