Robert Morris makes things interesting vs. tough Cleveland State
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Robert Morris' late comeback bid came up short and the Colonials lost their first home game of the season Thursday, falling to Cleveland State, 62-58, at the Sewall Center.
With 9:43 left in the game, Cleveland State's Jeremy Montgomery made a 3-pointer to put the Vikings up 53-37 and the game looked over.
Robert Morris then held Cleveland State without a field goal from that point on, and with 56 seconds left, Anthony Myers found Lijah Thompson under the basket for a dunk that cut the lead to 57-56.
Velton Jones had a chance to tie the score with 19 seconds left, but his floater bounced off the front rim. Cleveland State (9-1) was able to secure the win with free throws.
Robert Morris (7-3) struggled with Cleveland State's defensive pressure and had difficultly getting the ball inbounds after Cleveland State baskets. The Colonials turned the ball over a season-high 21 times.
"Some of the things that we did tonight were mind-boggling against the pressure, just some of the simple adjustments we could have made or simple reads I thought we could have made," Robert Morris coach Andy Toole said.
"There were times when the pressure was completely nonexistent, and then there were other times it seemed like there were nine guys out there."
Jones and Coron Williams led the Colonials with 18 points apiece. Each also had big plays in the second-half rally. Williams scored seven consecutive points during a stretch that cut Cleveland State's lead to single digits with 5:59 left, and Jones had a key three-point play that cut the deficit to four.
"It felt like at that point, we had them on the ropes and we just couldn't make the plays down the stretch to finish the game off," Jones said.
The Colonials trailed, 27-24, after a choppy and uneven first half.
The two teams combined for 23 fouls and both struggled at the line. Robert Morris made 6 of 14 free throw in the first half, while the Vikings were just 7 of 12.
"I think it was a pretty uninspiring effort with us to be honest with you," Toole said. "Cleveland State is a very, very good team, but I felt that we really didn't control everything that was in our power to control in order to win the game."
Robert Morris led for most of the opening half.
Cleveland State took its first lead with 2:14 left in the half when Trevon Harmon made a 3-pointer to put the Vikings up, 22-21. Harmon made another long 3 at the halftime buzzer to give the Vikings the lead heading into the locker room. Harmon led all scorers with 24 points.
A win would have been a major statement for the Colonials. Cleveland State defeated then-No. 7 Vanderbilt, 71-58, Nov. 13, and the Vikings are receiving votes in the Associated Press and coaches polls.
"Not sure we deserved to win the game, but we still had a chance to win the game," Toole said.
"And I feel like we really let a good opportunity for this program and this team slip away."
The Colonials have nine days off for final exams. They return to action Dec. 17 with a home game against Louisiana-Lafayette.
First Published December 9, 2011 12:00 am