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RMU rally falls short against Cleveland State

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Friday, Dec. 9, 2011
 

Robert Morris lost more than a game Thursday night, falling to Cleveland State, 62-58, before a crowd of 1,378 at Sewall Center.

The Colonials lost a chance to stand up and make people notice them.

Cleveland State (9-1), the defending Horizon League champion, came into the game with a team that had received nine votes in the most recent Associated Press poll and looked ready to crack the Top 25.

At one point, Robert Morris (7-3) had a chance to seize control but failed to take advantage. The Colonials missed several free throws before halftime and a committed series of turnovers in the second half that settled the outcome.

"You have this great opportunity to make this statement for your program, your university, your league and for (yourself)," Robert Morris coach Andy Toole said. "In time, our guys are really going to look back at this and regret the way they handled it. We hung our heads a little bit, which I was disappointed to see.

"I guess that's what happens when you are dealing with 18- to 22-year-old kids."

Robert Morris, playing only two days after defeating Duquesne, led through most of the first half. But the Colonials missed 8 of 14 free-throw attempts.

"Cleveland State doesn't give you many opportunities to score, and when they do, you have to take advantage of it," Toole said.

Cleveland State guard Trey Harmon scored 10 points in the final 3:23 of the first half to help the Vikings take a 27-24 lead into intermission. Harmon finished with a game-high 24.

In the second half, Cleveland State asserted its might, hitting long 3-pointers, forcing nine turnovers in the first nine minutes (21 overall) and building a 53-37 lead with 9:43 left.

Robert Morris rallied to make the game close at the end, but Toole wasn't impressed.

"It was a pretty uninspired effort by us to be honest with you," he said. "I'm not sure we deserved to win the game.

"Some of the things we did tonight were mind-boggling against the pressure. Some of the simple reads we didn't do. Sometimes, it felt like there were nine guys out there."

Robert Morris cut the lead to 57-56 on Lijah Thompson's dunk with 49.4 seconds. But the Colonials' Velton Jones missed a shot near the baseline that would have tied the score, and Cleveland State's Tim Kamczyc hit 5 of 6 free throws to stifle the rally.

Jones and Coron Williams led Robert Morris with 18 points each.

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