MARSHALL, ILL. —
Robinson escaped an emotional, hard-fought effort by host Marshall on Friday in Little Illini Conference boys basketball game.
The Maroons stayed unbeaten in the LIC at 7-0 and improved to 16-2 overall with the 56-52 victory.
Derrick Nicholas hit two big free throws with 1:05 on the clock to put the Maroons up 51-48, and Aaron Siler made his third field goal of the game with 28 seconds left to make it 54-50 for Robinson.
Marshall had built a 33-25 lead midway through the third quarter as Thomas Sisson found Taylor Maurer for one of his six assists. But Brayden Scott converted a 3-point play, and Siler did the same after an open-court steal to make it 33-30.
Michael Akande converted a 3-point play as well off a lob pass that made the score 35-34 with 1:05 go go in the third quarter.
The teams traded buckets throughout the fourth quarter, but Marshall's last lead came with 2:50 to go after another Maurer bucket. The Lions' big man had 11 points.
Blount answered with his fourth 3-pointer of the night, getting a shooter's roll on a shot from the corner. Nicholas followed with his clutch foul shots.
Marshall defended Siler well, holding him scoreless at halftime. The standout guard finished with 11 points.
But Marshall had 20 turnovers that helped derail the upset attempt. Marshall fell to 11-6 overall and 4-3 in the LIC.
"It was a total team effort. We game-planned for him, and our guys did a great job. They were all over the floor," Marshall coach Tom Brannan said. "We just have to take better care of the ball."
Nicholas led Robinson with 15 points despite going 5-of-12 at the foul line as three Marshall players fouled out in the physical contest.
Drew Morris played a great game for Marshall with 16 points, including 4-of-7 3-point shooting. Cray Bloodworth had five steals and 10 rebounds as the Lions outrebounded the Maroons 31-18.
"Cray was unbelievable, there were hustle plays all over the place," Brannan said.
Cory Blount kept Robinson in the game in the first half, knocking down his third 3-pointer of the game with six seconds left before the half to tie the score at 20. Blount finished with 14 points, hitting 4-of-4 from beyond the arc.
"The other guys take it as a challenge when Siler gets so much attention. Cory can light it up in practice from out there, and tonight was a nice night for him," Robinson coach Mack Thompson said.