Robert Morris Struggles in Opening Night Battle Against Ohio State


Robert Morris shot 31% from the floor and 16% from three in the 91-53 loss to Ohio State Photo credit: Colby Sherwin

Ethan Morrison

COLUMBUS, OHIO — For the second consecutive season Robert Morris kicked off their season on the road and this year, they made the three-hour trek from Moon Township to take on Ohio State.

After a hot start from Robert Morris (0-1), the Colonials began to struggle on both ends of the floor at the midway point of the first half as Ohio State (1-0) was able to take advantage of the Colonials’ miscues and coast to a 93-53 win Monday night.

Head coach Andy Toole spoke on the team’s rough performance in the season opener.

“Really disappointed. Sometimes you are playing a Big 10 opponent and guys that are highly touted incoming freshmen, some transfers that have played a high level a number of times, but I was just disappointed in our effort and I did not think that we were the team that I think that we can become. I think we made way too many mistakes on the defensive side in rebounding the basketball, which was the stuff we talked about and for it not to be better, it was frustrating,” Coach Toole said.

Ohio State was dominant on the glass throughout the game, picking up offensive boards at ease as they finished with 12 and cashed in off the glass on a multitude of occasions throughout the contest.

Even though the Colonials struggled as the game went on in the first half, a returner for RMU showed out in a big way in the season opener.

Enoch Cheeks seemed to pick up right where he left off last season as he paced the Colonials through the first six minutes of play, knocking down his first three shots of the contest. That helped Robert Morris spurt out a slim two-point lead through the under-12 media timeout.

Cheeks ended the evening with 17 points shooting 7-15 from the field and 3-7 from deep, starting his junior season off on the right foot.

Toole discussed Cheeks’ solid performance on a night when the team struggled on the offensive side of the floor.

“He did a really nice job getting to the rim and also did a nice job making some plays. There were times when it seemed as if we had nothing going on and he was able to make a good play and get a good shot for us,” Toole said.

However, slowly but surely, Ohio State began to pick apart the Colonial defense as they missed some assignments at the midway point of the first half, which allowed the Buckeyes to regain the lead.

Enoch Cheeks led the team in points with 17. (Photo by Colby Sherwin)

Zed Key knocked down his second three-point field goal of the contest and Justice Sueing followed that up with two three-point field goals of his own.

That forced Toole to call a timeout to regroup Robert Morris after a rough stretch where they allowed Ohio State to get out to a 10-point lead with just under six minutes to go in the opening half.

Toole discussed the struggles on the defensive end and what the team needs to do to improve on that area of the floor moving forward.

“I think that some of it is individual decisions about the commitment on that side of the floor regardless of how things are going on the other side,” Toole said. “We will continue to look at it and continue to coach it and drill it so guys can continue to get better at it.”

The defensive woes continued for the Colonials late in the first half. They struggled to box out on the defensive end of the floor, allowing the Buckeyes to grab two offensive boards, which allowed Brice Sensabaugh to convert a close jumper to cash in on the Colonials’ misfortunes.

Offensively the Colonials struggled down the stretch in the first half, not hitting a single shot from the field in the last four minutes of the first half. Ohio State took a comfortable 12-point lead into the locker room while also going on a 6-0 run to end the half.

RMU struggled beyond the arc in the first half shooting just 13 percent from three-point land while shooting at a 32 percent clip from the field.

Ohio State was rolling through the first half of the play, hitting almost half of their shots from the field and knocking down 53 percent of them from long range.

That trend continued for the Buckeyes to start the second half as they stretched their lead out to 20 points in the opening minutes of the second frame shooting out on a 7-0 run, which forced Toole to call the team’s second timeout of the contest.

Ohio State continued to pull away as the night went on, stretching out their lead to as much as 40 points as the Buckeye offense was too much for the Colonials as they finished the game on a 12-0 run.

Cheeks led the way in scoring for the Colonials, while Stephaun Walker had an impressive debut as a Colonial, tallying 10 points in the losing effort. Justice Sueing paced the Buckeyes with 20 points shooting 8-14 from the floor and 2-3 from long range.

After the loss, Robert Morris will return home to the UPMC Events Center to take on Pitt Greensburg Wednesday at 7 p.m. as they look for their first win in the young season.