Rhode Island Advances to A-10 Tournament Semifinal; Downs GW, 71-58

Rhode Island Advances to A-10 Tournament Semifinal; Downs GW, 71-58

How It Happened:
Rhode Island won its first on-site Atlantic 10 Tournament game since 2010 and dispatched #6 seeded George Washington, 71-58.

The Rams (22-8) defense responded in the second half, holding the Colonials (21-12) to just seven field goals - just two through the first 10 minutes of the second frame.  GW scored 11 of its 26 points from the free throw line thanks to 14 trips to the foul line over the final 20 minutes of play.

In a first half that saw seven ties and three lead changes, both teams kept it close throughout the first period.  GW would go up by as many as six points late in the half, taking a 28-22 lead with 2:05 to play.  An 8-2 Rhody run would tie it at 30-30 with eight ticks to play, but the 12 whistled foul of the half with :02 on the clock gave GW a 32-30 lead at the break.

GW took a three-point lead (39-36) with 16:37 on a jumper and then went without a field goal for more than eight minutes. Tied at 39-39 with 13 minutes to play, the Colonials made their way to the free throw line for four free throws after All-A-10 second team pick E.C. Matthews was assessed a technical foul after venting his frustration at himself on a committed foul.  GW would make all four free throws and the Rams would take over.  Eight unanswered points sparked a 20-7 run that put the game out of reach.

Inside the Box Score and Beyond:
* E.C. Matthews led all scorers with 21 points - his ninth 20-point game of the season.  The Second Team All-A-10 guard made 10-of-11 from the foul line to go along with four boards in 35 minutes.

* Jarvis Garrett again proved his mettle as one of the top point guards in the A-10.  Te Milwaukee newcomer netted 12 points, six rebounds, and six assists in a season-high 38 minutes.

* T.J. Buchanan came off the bench to prove why he is one of the best sixth-man players in the Atlantic 10 .  The senior from Kalamazoo, Mich. added 12 points, four boards and three steals.

* Hassan Martin blocked five shots in 22 minutes of play, while also corralling six boards.

* Jared Terrell and Gilvydas Biruta each added eight points.  Biruta also tallied six boards and two blocks.

* Biggie Minnis' defense keyed the 20-7 run in the second half.  The Philadelphia native ended with five points, but tallied five boards, two assists, two steals and a block.

Stat of the Game:
44 - Rhody's 44 free throws attempted marked the highest total of FTA this season.  The Rams made 29, which is also a new season-high.

What's Next:
The Rams continue on in the Atlantic 10 Tournament, advancing to Saturday's semifinal vs. #2 seeded Dayton.  Game time is set for 4 p.m.  

The game will be televised live nationally on the CBS Sports Network.  Fans can also tune into the Rhody Sports Network and B101 (101.5 FM) for the call, with Steve McDonald and Don Kaull.