When the Central Connecticut State Blue Devils pulled up on campus to face off against the Robert Morris Colonials, they looked to embody march madness. The game was delayed for a brief moment due to players and coaches receiving NEC Honors.
Once the game started the inevitable started to unravel for the visiting Blue Devils. After an early three-pointer for Central Connecticut, RMU’s defense lead to offense. The Colonials rolled on to a 13-0 run. Finishing the first quarter with a 12 point lead.
The 20-8 score would get tighter for the Colonials during in the second quarter. “It was a great fight,” said the back-to-back NEC coach of the year Charlie Buscaglia, “It was a great battle.”
The Colonials were held to just five points in the second frame. CCSU took advantage of the lack of scoring from Robert Morris and climbed back into the game. Central Connecticut pulled the score within 7 points, but the reigning champs didn’t waver. Leading going into the locker room 25-18.
Nneka Ezeigbo continued her dominance for the Colonials in the first half. She scored eight points for the Colonials in the half, good enough for the team lead. Ezeigbo was also the leading rebounder for the Colonials, cleaning the glass three times in the first half.
Before the game, Honoka Ikematsu was awarded the NEC Women’s Basketball rookie of the year and she made her first career playoff start. If she was nervous before the game, she settled down come game time. She had 11 points, five assists and four steals.
Tonight’s game was a solid team win for RMU. Jocelynne Jones had 6 points and 7 rebounds. Megan Smith also chipped in 11 points and three rebounds. Mikalah Mulrain went for eight points in the win.
If there is one thing that opposing teams can be sure of when facing the Colonials, is the defense will be ready to play. RMU robbed CCSU 12 times in this game. The steals and hustle plays lead to 28 points for Robert Morris.
In what seemed like an early route, at the beginning for Robert Morris became a nail-biter at the end. CCSU pulled within four of the Colonials thanks to a 12-0 run. With a minute to go in the game, the score was 58-54 Colonials. CCSU was displaying the drive and kick offense with precision.
This game was all about hustle plays. With 36 seconds to go in the game, Megan Smith missed a three that would have put the game away. The ball rattled off the rim. The rebound was going out of bounds. Then Nina Augustin made a heroic effort to save the ball. She swatted the ball back into play where it was gathered in by Honoka Ikematsu. This lead to an RMU timeout. After that play CCSU got desperate. They sent Megan Smith free throw line where she made both. Jocelynne Jones and Mikalah Mulrain also were sent the charity stripe.
When the dust settled on this game, the Colonials stood on top 60-54. RMU moves on to play the winner of LIU Brooklyn and St. Francis Brooklyn. That game will be played at Robert Morris.