CLEVELAND — No. 6 Robert Morris controlled much of the game and even later on, they appeared to have an impressive upset on the road. They failed to close out the game late in the second half and couldn’t keep up in overtime, falling 75-70 Thursday night at the Wolstein Center in the Horizon League Quarterfinals.
The Colonials (16-17) lost for the third time this year against the Vikings (20-12). This makes it two straight years they have lost in the Horizon League Quarterfinals to the Vikings.
Robert Morris controlled most of the first half, as they took a 6-4 lead with 15:19 left and did not let it go. They built their advantage as big as eight three times at 26-18, 28-20 and 30-22 with 2:48 remaining.
Cleveland State managed to play well towards the end of the first period and scored six points in the final two minutes and 19 seconds to cut Robert Morris’ lead to 32-28.
RMU did not shoot good at all from 3-point range in the first half, making only one of their nine attempts from behind the arc. They found more success getting the ball inside, either with driving layups or solid ball movement to find a favorable shot down low, as they scored 20 points in the paint.
Senior guard Michael Green III led the Colonials with 10 points on 4-for-4 shooting, including a 3-pointer. He also scored the final basket of the half for his team, on a layup that saw him penetrate the paint with ease.
Both teams traded baskets to start the second half, until Robert Morris went on an 11-3 run over five minutes to take a 47-35 lead with 12:20 remaining.
Cleveland State battled back, going on a 10-4 run over five minutes, later in the second half to cut the Robert Morris lead to 57-53 with 3:59 remaining.
The Colonials got some big points from a long mid-range jumper by junior guard Josh Corbin and two free throws from Green to earn a 61-54 lead with 1:48 left.
The Vikings fought back, as junior guard Drew Lowder hit a 3-pointer and junior forward Tristan Enaruna hit a layup to cut it to two points.
Corbin turned it over on the next RMU possession and Lowder drew a foul to go to the foul line with 7.7 seconds left. He hit both shots, tying the game at 61.
Green turned it over on the last possession, as Cleveland State senior guard Deshon Parker stole the ball. Parker then threw up a last second buzzer beater from half court and the refs called a foul on Robert Morris first-year forward Stephaun Walker.
A review following the foul call determined that if happened after the buzzer, sending the game into overtime.
The Vikings dominated the Colonials in the overtime period, as Enaruna made two big baskets and Lowder made four shots from the foul line. The Vikings shot 8-for-8 from the foul line in overtime.
Green, who played a large role in the first half, missed all three shots in the overtime period and turned the ball over twice.
Graduate forward Kahliel Spear, who has played a large role for Robert Morris this season and over his career, scored two points over the second half and overtime.