MOON TOWNSHIP– The Robert Morris University Colonials men’s basketball team (2-6) rolled past the Geneva College Golden Tornadoes (2-4), 102-62. The Colonials took advantage of Geneva’s turnover issues down the stretch.
The Colonials took an early lead, but they couldn’t shake the Golden Tornadoes. Geneva featured a zone defense to start the game, this forced RMU, a team that traditionally lives or dies by the three, to shoot the ball from the outside. Unfortunately for the Colonials, they were ice cold from downtown. Robert Morris shot just 6-19, 31.6% from the field.
Jalen Hawkins gave a much-needed spark coming off the bench in the first half. The sophomore guard finished the first half with nine points and four rebounds. Yannis Mendy stole extra possessions for the Colonials, pulling down five offensive rebounds. This helped RMU tally 10-second chance points.
Both teams struggled handling the ball. Each team coughed up 12 turnovers. The Golden Tornadoes had nine steals to their credit, however, Robert Morris made the most of the turnovers. For RMU, 17 of their 40 points in the first half came off of turnovers.
When the teams headed to the locker rooms, RMU held onto an eleven point lead, 40-29.
Robert Morris came out of the break looking like a team possessed. The Colonials forced Geneva to inbound the ball into a press. This turned out to be too much for the Golden Tornadoes to handle.
RMU also pushed the ball after Geneva’s missed shots. When Geneva head coach Jeff Santarsiero called a timeout at the 18:18 mark, the Colonials were out to a 20 point lead, 51-31.
“Coming out of halftime, we tried to create some energy,” explained RMU head coach Andy Toole. “We went to a little bit of pressure. That seemed to have some success. Our guys came out a little more focused a little more energized.”
With a little under six minutes to go in the game, the Colonials pulled back into a zone defense, however, the writing was already on the wall for the Golden Tornados.
The turnover issues only carried over for one team. The Golden Tornadoes had 17 turnovers in the second half. They finished with 29 total turnovers.
Robert Morris would cruise to an easy 102-62 win.
Lyle Tipton’s 18 points weren’t enough to get the job done for Geneva. Ethan Moose and Noah Damazo tallied 13 points and 11 points respectively.
AJ Bramah and Yannis Mendy both double-doubled for RMU. Bramah finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Mendy lit up the scorers book with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Josh Williams got hot in the second half and finished with 21 points.
“In the second half they really started to assert themselves in the paint,” said Toole. “In the beginning of the game, we talked about playing inside out. In the second half, we started to get the ball inside early, giving us opportunities for high percentage shots.
Jalen Hawkins, Sayveon McEwen and Charles Bain, all finished with double-digit scoring coming off the bench. Hawkins and McEwen finished with 13 points. Bain added another 14 points. Coach Toole and Dante Treacy praised the Colonials’ depth.
“I think it’s a really good thing for our team,” said Treacy. “Last year, when we would go to the bench, we would go through low spurts. This year, we got guys coming off the bench looking to score and be more aggressive.”
“It a great luxury to have,” illustrated Toole. “I think we have some guys that make some shots, that can score the ball. We are still figuring out rotations.”
Robert Morris is on the road for their next three match-ups. The first being against Cleveland State (3-4) at 6:00 p.m on Saturday, Nov. 30. The Golden Tornadoes’ next game is Saturday as they play host to Franciscan University (1-3, 0-1 AMCC). Tip-off for that game is set for 2:00 p.m.