Despite a strong performance by the men’s basketball team, missed foul shots in the waning moments of the game ultimately decided the Mountaineers’ 63-59 overtime loss to Robert Morris on Jan. 22.
The Mount went three-of-six from the foul line in the final two minutes of the game and 12-of-20 overall. Head Coach Jamion Christian shouldered much of the blame for the tough loss despite his players’ shortcomings.
“I am disappointed by the team’s execution down the stretch there, but that falls solely on my shoulders,” Christian said.
With 2:02 left in the game, the Mount led 56-54. Khalid Nwandu made two trips to the charity strike and came away two-of-four. After the game, the disappointed Nwandu said, “Down the stretch we weren’t aggressive.”
Kristijan Krajina added to the team’s foul line woes after his rebound and an ensuing technical foul brought him to line. Krajina was unable to put the Colonials away by going one-of-two at the line. The Mount lead was only three. These missed free-throws proved to be a turning point the game.
With time winding down, Robert Morris’s Marcquise Reed drilled a three-point jump shot to tie the game at 59 with 11 seconds left. Will Miller’s last gasp three-point attempt was no good, and the game headed to overtime. Robert Morris kept the Mount scoreless from the field in the final 9:06 of regulation and closed out the second half with a 10-3 run capped by Reed’s three pointer.
In overtime, the Mountaineers failed to sink any of their eight shots from the field. The Colonials took advantage and come away with an important road victory in Northeast Conference play. The loss snapped a four game winning streak for the Mount.
Although it had a disappointing ending, the game was an improvement from the Mountaineers last game against Robert Morris. On the road, the Mountaineers fell to the Colonials 70-45 on Jan. 3rd.
In their second meeting, the Mountaineers kept it close and were able to come roaring back. Down 41-38 in the second half, Krajina put back Nwandu’s missed shot to make it 41-40. Seconds later, Krajina gave the Mount the lead when he dunked on an assist from Junior Robinson.
Gregory Graves led the team with 16 points and eight rebounds. The great individual performance did not make the loss any easier for Graves. “We were hesitant and that hurts,” he said.
The loss dropped the Mount’s conference record to 4-3 and overall record to 8-10.