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Robert Morris Basketball

Robert Morris Sweats Out Win Against Pesky Point Park



Photos by Jared Todhunter

MOON — Robert Morris opened up its home slate against local foe Point Park as the Pioneers made the short trek to the UPMC Events Center Thursday night.

The Pioneers put up a valiant effort, leading for over 20 minutes of the game, but the Colonials held off the pesky Pioneers, 66-56.

Both programs would be without their stars. Robert Morris was without former four-star Justice Williams, who scored 21 points in the season opener against Xavier on Monday. The Colonials also did not have three-point threat Josh Corbin at their disposal.

Point Park was without its NAIA All-American Jo Valrie, who is averaging 17.5 points per game through its first five contests.

With fresh confidence of a new season ahead of them, the Colonials looked to handle the Pioneers with ease.

Certainly, that was not the case. While Point Park took advantage of several of its opportunities, it was the Colonials that got in the way of themselves.

In the first half the Colonials shot just 32.4 percent from the floor and trailed by five heading into the locker room. The Colonials were plagued with turnovers, giving the ball up eight times.

After an opening Jamisen Smith layup for the Pioneers, Robert Morris put together an 11-0 run. Western Michigan transfer Markeese Hastings was at the center of the early success for the Colonials with a three to open the Colonials’ scoring followed by a strong finish on the lay-in.

Point Park pulled right back into the game via the effort from Smith. The Colonials were unable to control the graduate senior guard as he scored 12 points in the first half.

With Smith’s guard play, complemented by a mismatch in the frontcourt for the Pioneers, they leveraged their big men. 7-foot-2 center Jags Jhawar and 6-foot-10 Nazareth Fisher controlled the paint for Point Park and posed a problem for the undersized Steph Walker.

The Pioneers put together an 8-0 run that distanced themselves from the Colonials. Jackson Last finally put an end to things for Robert Morris as he hit a triple with 3:55 to go.

However, it would be Nathaniel Van, who nailed a three to close the half as the Pioneers put the Colonials faithful in shock.

Feeling good, the Pioneers entered the second half firing on all cylinders. Smith led the way yet again with a strong drive and finish with a foul, which he would add for the three-point play.

Point Park extended its lead to 10 as Smith knocked down a mid-range jumper and was subsequently followed by a Van triple that forced Colonials’ head coach Andy Toole to call a timeout.

Searching for answers, the Colonials finally found some scoring from sophomore TJ Wainwright as he cashed in on a mid-range jumper. Moments later, he was fouled beyond the arc, leading to an opportunity at the foul line in which he scored all three.

Wainwright put together his best performance of his career, scoring a personal-best 17 points.

The Colonials finally found their rhythm and closed the gap as Hastings brought the Colonial fans to their feet with a breakaway slam.

Hastings effort paced the Colonials as he finished with a double-double, scoring 20 points and adding 10 rebounds.

On the next offensive sequence for Robert Morris, the Colonials found Last wide open as he made no mistake draining the three-pointer. The bucket gave the Colonials their first lead since the 6:21 mark of the first half.

Once the lead was regained by the Colonials, they held off the Pioneers just enough thanks to a much better shooting half as they went 42.4 percent.



Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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