It was hard to envision the Robert Morris Colonials upsetting the Oklahoma State Cowboys in Stillwater on Monday night. Robert Morris had to play a perfect game, and they didn't. It was important for them to start the game strong, and they didn't.
Instead, RMU found themselves trailing 0-9 a little more than three minutes into the game. Oklahoma St. was simply too athletic, too skilled, and too overpowering for the Colonials to overcome.
Robert Morris made things interesting at times in the first half. A layup by senior point guard Anthony Myers-Pate shortly after OSU sophomore point guard Marcus Smart picked up this second foul, cut the Cowboys lead to just nine points at the 9:56 mark in the first half.
After Oklahoma St. junior forward Le'Bryan Nash picked up his second foul of the half at the 5:11 mark, RMU went on a 6-0 run to cut the deficit to eight points with just under four minutes remaining in the half. However, an 11-4 run by OSU to close the half, highlighted by back-to-back triples, saw the Cowboys heading to the locker room leading, 46-31.
The second half saw the return of Smart and Nash to the lineup; they either scored and/or assisted on their teams first 11 points. Oklahoma St. got into transition after every Colonials miss, and usually finished those opportunities with a highlight dunk. OSU literally ran away from Robert Morris and coasted to a 92-66 victory.
RMU was led by senior guard Karvel Anderson who finished the night with 16 points on 7-14 shooting. He wasn't feeling it from long distance (2-7), but found other ways to score.
The rest of the starters really struggled, especially junior guard/forward Lucky Jones. He was 1-11 from the floor, and wasn't able to attack the basket as relentlessly as he had been in previous contests. However, the bench played really well (31 points) all things considered.
The Cowboys got 18 points out of senior guard Markel Brown in 30 minutes of play. Smart finished the game with just seven points, but he netted eight assists. He only played 19 minutes because of foul trouble in the first half, and wasn't needed midway through the second half.
Sophomore guard Phil Forte came off the bench to lead Oklahoma St. in scoring with 20 points, including five triples. Nash finished the game with nine points and five rebounds, but again, was in foul trouble early and then rested for a bulk of the second half. He dominated the Colonials when he was positioned in the short corner, and went to the line six times thanks to his aggressiveness around the rim.
In the end, it was unlikely that Robert Morris was going to get a road win on Monday night. They put forth a valiant effort, but weren't able to overcome the fast start by OSU. Once the Cowboys got in transition early and often in the second half, the game was all but decided.
RMU will finish non-conference play at the Alabama Crimson Tide (5-7) on Saturday. A win over Alabama would perhaps give this team something to feel good about before they start NEC play.