Purdue Fort Wayne tops Robert Morris in heated contest


Kahliel Spear goes up for a layup in the team’s loss to Purdue Fort Wayne. Photo credit: Ethan Morrison

Tyler Gallo

MOON TOWNSHIP– If the rain outside was any indication, the shots were raining down for both Robert Morris and Purdue Fort Wayne in Moon Township this afternoon.

The Mastodons (7-7, 3-3 Horizon) came to town and did just enough to steal a 76-70 victory from the Colonials (2-13, 0-6), who are still looking for their first conference win.

Andy Toole noted the frustration of yet another close loss.

“I thought we fought in the second half and tried to scrap our way back into the game, but we weren’t ready at the start [of the game] and that cost us,” Toole said. “I thought there were some slow minds on both sides of the ball, and it certainly cost us at the end of the game.”

Early on, both sides saw their fair share of failure and success with the Mastodons taking a 9-8 advantage into the first media timeout thanks to a few Colonials turnovers.

IPFW leading scorer Jarred Godfrey found his touch following the break, hitting a layup and a pair of threes to stretch the lead to 17-9.

The Mastodons continued to let it fly from deep, extending their lead to 24-18. Michael Green III found some buckets during this stretch, notching five points to get the Colonials closer.

IPFW played stifling defense late in the half, drawing two shot-clock violations and some forced shots. Bobby Planutis hit a wide-open three-pointer for PFW to make it a 32-23 game by the next media.

Ra Kpedi hit a layup and missed a foul shot in the waning seconds, heading to the locker room with the Mastodons up 39-30.

Both teams were shooting an even 50 percent from the field with the Colonials shooting 40 percent from three and IPFW hitting on 38.5 percent of their shots from beyond.

The Mastodons started to run away with the game early in the first half, flushing their lead as big as 11 points with a little over 17 minutes remaining and drawing another RMU shot-clock violation.

Planutis hit a euro-step layup to make the score 49-36, and the Mastodons bench exploded in celebration. RMU followed this up with another shot-clock violation.

Brandon Stone drew RMU closer with a three from the right elbow, making it a nine-point game at the under-12 media timeout.

The Colonials scored a quick six points with a few stops between, bringing the game as close as six points as they tried to mount a comeback.

Enoch Cheeks played a large part in reaching closer, fighting through the defense with some tough layups to make the score 60-53. Toole praised his development throughout two seasons.

“We always knew that he had great physical gifts and great explosiveness,” Toole said. “All those tools are a part of his repertoire, and when he gets going, it certainly helps us as a team in a major way and we need him to be going all the time.”

Robert Morris found its defensive prowess late. Green came back in the game and notched a quick five points, including a three, to bring the deficit to four with 2:15 remaining.

Enoch Cheeks headed to the line with RMU in the bonus and sunk both free throws to make it a two-point affair.

Planutis followed that sequence with a dagger three-pointer and the lead was back to five.

Michael Green continued his hot shooting with another three-pointer late, recording a game and season-high 20, but it wasn’t enough as the Mastodons headed back to Indiana with a 76-70 win.

Green talked about his performance after the game and how it differed from the previous game, where he was held off the board.

“I felt like I was more aggressive [today], playing within the offense, and I just got the right looks.”

The Colonials shot 51 percent overall and 35 percent from beyond while IPFW shot 47.2 percent overall and 29.1 percent from three.

Jalon Pipkins led the Mastodons with 18 while Green’s 20 were the game-high for RMU.

RMU is back in action on Thursday when they take on Wright State for game four of their five-game homestand.