UPMC Events Center

January 27, 2023
UPMC Events Center (Capacity: 4,000)
Moon Township, PA
Robert Morris Colonials vs Detroit Mercy Titans
Final Score: 85 – 77


A basketball doubleheader brought me first to Western PA as I began in a suburb west of Pittsburgh. Moon Township has a population of about 27,000 people and along with having some spaced out housing developments, the town is best known for being home to Pittsburgh’s airport and to Robert Morris University. This small private school began as the Pittsburgh School of Accountancy before they took on the name Robert Morris, in honor of the “Financier of the American Revolution”. The Colonials started playing D1 Ball in 1976 and they’ve made the NCAA Tournament eight times, with a 9th appearance getting cancelled in 2020. They took #2 seed Villanova to OT in their 2010 appearance, while their landmark win actually came in the NIT. In 2013, they had the fortune of hosting Kentucky thanks to a building conflict and walked away with a shocking 59-57 win in front of a jam packed Sewall Center. That tiny gym is now gone as the UPMC Events Center opened in 2019 and it is facility with some terrific features. So why the low “Prestige” ranking?….some unpleasant encounters with staff members before the game (see the “Other Stuff” section)
Prestige Ranking: 1.5 out of 5


Area attractions are aplenty in Pittsburgh (a beautiful city to visit), but that is a good 25-30 minutes away from Moon Township. Restaurants in town along University Blvd and Beaver Grade Road feature mostly chain establishments with a smattering of local restaurants (including a Primanti Bros.). My pre-game dinner choice was at a shopping center within walking distance of campus as Mike & Tony’s Gyros hit the spot.
Location Ranking: 5.5 out of 10

Accessibility / Parking

Being close to Pittsburgh means the advantage of great interstate accessibility. It also means traffic and you can expect a fair amount of it, especially for weeknight games. I-376 is the road that will bring you to the Moon. Robert Morris is then easily accessible from University Boulevard. The arena is in the southwest part of this small, but spaced out campus. They built it with parking lots on three sides and what looks like a sufficient amount of space for the arena’s capacity. However, the lot nearest and adjacent to the main entrance will get full early and it’s also the most problematic for departure. With no staff or police directing after the game, many cars will attempt to make a left-hand turn and the stream of cars from the other way generally don’t allow that. It led to a surprising 10-15 minute wait for a slow exit, something I didn’t expect at a game with a crowd of less than 1,000. The lots further back and up the hill allow for an easier departure (though students do take a good chunk of spaces pre-game). For Robert Morris games, there’s probably enough parking. If you are going to a concert, there are plenty of stories of what a nightmare parking is.
Accessibility / Parking Ranking: 6 out of 8


This is a beautiful building as the sand-colored siding meshes well with all of the glass windows and silver accents. Some of the glass has a sea-greenish tinge to it. The front corner of the building is the main entrance and it’s fairly a complex coming together, but still good to look at. The centerpiece is a rotunda that allows second-level exterior views. Multiple places have the arena name on the building and there’s a logo to be found here or there.
Exterior Ranking: 8 out of 10


The opening circular atrium is nice, but the placement of metal directors a foot or two away past the doors makes for a crammed start. Otherwise, the lobby has a striking look thanks to the blue and red carpet with the giant RMU logo in the middle. To the right, is a wide hallway full of displays before you reach the stairs (or elevator) to the second level and access to the main arena. Another sideline walkway greets you with great character incorporated around pictures and a huge block lettering of “Colonial Pride”. Space to roam is not an issue here and the aforementioned rotunda is a nice little hang out space as well (especially for the kids as they can sit on a giant foam chair). Bathrooms are adequate. A middle walkway inside the gym leads to easy seat access throughout.
Concourse Ranking: 4.5 out of 5


There are three stands…one is in the concourse hallway, but that is only for students. The other one in the concourse rotunda is mainly for alcohol as an assortment of liquor and beer is available (nothing local, but a fair amount of varieties). The final stand is the main one for food and it’s kind of in an odd place inside the arena. It doesn’t disrupt traffic flow that badly, it’s just unexpected. A Chick-Fil-A Sandwich (complete with a grab and go for all their sauces) here is the highlight with just snack options beyond that.
Food Ranking: 3 out of 8


When I first walked in, I had a couple of instant reactions. The first was that it felt like it was a “wide” arena. Some seating structures are vertical, providing better sightlines. Here, seating seemed to go out more horizontal upon initial glance. The other reaction I had was the great character. Lots of blue and lots of red with a fair amount of school spirit. The red and blue seats really stood out and the lower sections in an attempted color design of the American Flag was an interesting visual (and a cheap pop….’Merica). Seating structure features four sides of straight-across rows. On the sidelines, this leads to a few poor angles as seats go well beyond the baseline (facing straight ahead). A walkway in the middle splits sections into two, except behind the student section end. Everything is on an aluminum base and in addition to cheapening the place, the rows in the upper sections are really tight. I was scrunched in my seat and my knees jammed up against the seat in front of me. Lower sections have a little more room. As mentioned before, sightlines could be better (especially if someone is seated in front of you), but it’s a small building and you are altogether close to the court. Luxury sections can be found in multiple areas as there are courtside seats, a club hidden behind Sections 109-11 and the more visible “Eat n Park Club” above 112-116. There are no individual boxes in this club as padded chairs line the front edge.
Interior Ranking: 7.5 out of 14


A short, wide-screen scoreboard sits near the ceiling above center court. Glad they didn’t go with anything bigger as it would’ve been obstructing. The four video screens are crisp and clear with the game information digitally displayed at the bottom. Replay frequency was sufficient. Circular displays above and below the video mainly display ads. In the end corners of the arena, basic video screens provide player stats. These are surprisingly basic looking, but I’m happy to see one. Unnecessary ribbon displays circle the top of the arena.
Scoreboard Ranking: 3 out of 4


The way that RMU presents their team displays is unique and diversified. The lower-level entryway has timeline of team history that is quite modern. This is followed by a Hall of Fame and then championship information along with some memorabilia. On the other side are the trophies from conference winning teams. Multiple sections of the arena are named after a person and an adjoining plaque gives some nice info about that individual. Inside the arena, the walls continue with honors. The way they present championship years is nice and organized for Men, Women and the Volleyball teams. Three numbers are retired on an opposite wall.
Displays Ranking: 5.5 out of 6


Parking is free and concession prices aren’t bad. The tickets are $11 (baseline), $14, $17 and $24. If you buy them online you will get charged an insane $10 fee. Do not do this and just buy them at the arena when you arrive (where the price only goes up a dollar) as there will be plenty available. Get the cheapest one and after the second media timeout, move to where you want. Compared to the rest of the Horizon League, ticket prices are just a scoach above most other teams.
Cost Ranking: 7 out of 8

Fan Support

With Pittsburgh’s pro teams and two other larger schools (Pitt and Duquesne) in the area, it’s certainly difficult for RMU to make in-roads. Attendance is not great as the team is just about last in the Horizon League with tickets distributed averaging 1,000 or less. The crowd on-hand for the Friday Night contest that I attended estimated around 700 people. Things were even worse when I watched the feed of their next home game with only a couple hundred filling the vast amount of otherwise empty seats. Even a Quarterfinal or Semifinal Conference Tournament game won’t fill half the building. Student turnout in the “Colonial Crazies” section isn’t terrible as there’s about a dozen who stand and chant/cheer much of the time with a spattering of other students further back in the area.
Fan Support Ranking: 2 out of 8


Despite the low turnout, the atmosphere was decent. It begins with the acoustics as the low roof and abundance of aluminum as your seating base helps to create a loud building even with what seems like minimal noise. I can’t imagine how awesomely noisy it would be for RMU when the place is full. At the start of the game, some random “De-Fense” chants would come up and a few folks would raise their arms after a basket. Fans generally were engaged and their cheers picked up when a novice basketball follower would expect them to. A handful of students made more noise than the rest of that section and the atmosphere was enhanced by a pretty snazzy pep band. They were pretty good and I enjoyed a few of the tunes they belted out. The fight song ends with multiple rounds of “R-M-U”, which is a nice atmosphere enhancer.
Atmosphere Ranking: 8 out of 14

Other Stuff

I went into this game with a little bit of negative connotations because of what RMU unnecessarily did to their hockey program (they are bringing it back, but damage was done). I put that aside, ready for a great experience….and that ended when I went through the front door. The security lady told me no backpacks. OK, the sign in front of her said bags 12x12x12 were permitted, it just needed to be searched. She proceeded to tell me that’s for purses, which clearly wasn’t on the sign she was pointing at. Fine, I’ll bring it back to the car, but next up is the camera I’m carrying. There is no detachable lens, but she decides to pull out her ‘guide’ looking for a way to tell me not to bring it in. Now that this was getting ridiculous, I actually had a media credential for this game (the collected ticket stub pictured at the top of the page was found on the floor). Note: I avoid credentials, because I just want a ticket so that I only get the fan experience. But if that’s the only option, I’ll take it. Well, now that she was informed I had a media credential to pick up at Will Call, her whole demeanor changed. Instead of me being a lowly fan….I’m now SOMEBODY. What a crotchety old woman trying to get the most out of her position. As Roger Bennett would say…”It. Would. Get. Worse”. I’m now in the lobby taking pictures, with my media credential around my neck mind you, and some building worker comes up to me and says “Who are you with?” I explain and she gives me a negative tone and negative look as to why I’m taking pictures. She asks my name (having me spell it out), the name of the person that gave me the credential and if I’ll be photographing students. After offering her to show her my website, she walks away all annoyed that she wasn’t “notified” of me. In all my years of visits, which include nearly 250 stadiums, I’ve never been quizzed and looked down upon for photographing a building (and this was with a credential!). I understand it’s odd and certainly don’t mind explaining what I’m doing to somebody. But instead of feeling welcomed after that, I felt like I was intruding. RMU, I am not a fan.

The nickname for Robert Morris is “Bobby Mo”…..The Colonials are kind of in “No Man’s Land” when it comes to Conference affiliation. They were too far west in the NEC and generally outclassed the rest of the schools in many regards. Now they are on the Eastern edge of the Horizon League footprint and certainly in the smaller camp for school size…..Their current Head Coach has had impressive longevity as Andrew Toole began when he was 30 years old and now is in his 13th year with RMU.


Two middling teams with one star player. Detroit Mercy’s Antoine Davis came into the game as the NCAA’s second all-time scoring leader (11th in PPG) and I was looking forward to seeing him in action. His marksmanship from beyond the arc is really impressive in person and he finished with 29 points (27 from long distance). However, turnovers and difficulties driving in the lane didn’t help the team and a relatively close game eventually gave way to RMU pulling away late. You could see the difference in character as the Titans were often sitting and bleh on the bench, while RMU was frequently standing and energized. Coach Mike Davis was stupidly T’d up late for arguing and that was the nail in the coffin as the Colonials won 85 – 77. Kahliel Spear finished with 25 points for Robert Morris.

Stadium Experience Ranking: 62.5 out of 100

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