Balanced Offense, Stingy Defense Guide Rams to 70-62 Win at UMass

Balanced Offense, Stingy Defense Guide Rams to 70-62 Win at UMass

How It Happened
All nine players that saw action scored as Rhode Island earned its first regular season series sweep of UMass in 14 years with a 70-62 victory at the Mullins Center tonight.

The Rams won their fourth straight game - and sixth in seven tries - thanks to defensive effort that limited the Minutemen to 35.3% shooting from the floor - including just 3-of-17 shooting from the outside.

Rhody jumped out to a 6-0 lead less than three minutes into the contest, forcing UMass to call a 30-second timeout at the 17:23 mark.  Rhody built as much as an eight-point lead, after a Cyril Langevine layup made it 14-6 with 11:45 to play.  UMass would counter with a 9-2 push over the next 3:01, cutting it to one, at 16-15.  

There were two ties over the final 5:52 of the half, but UMass could get not take the lead.  The Rams scored the final five points of the half, capped by a Nicola Akele tip-in at the buzzer which made it 33-27 at the break,

The two teams traded baskets to start the second half of play before Rhode Island began to extend on both ends of the floor.  URI scored eight unanswered points to start a 12-3 run, capped by an E.C. Matthews jumper which made it 51-40 with 12:11 to go.  The Rams would build as much as a 14-point lead after Kuran Iverson converted a traditional three-point play with 8:32 left in regulation, making it 58-44.

Similar to the first meeting of the season in Kingston, UMass chipped away at the Rhody lead late.  The Minutemen got as close as five points - 64-59 - with 53 second to go, but Rhody converted 6-of-8 from the charity stripe to seal the victory - the first in Amherst since Feb. 18, 2009.
                                
Inside the Box Score

  • Jared Terrell led a balanced Rhode Island offense with 14 points (4-11 FG; 2-5 3FG; 4-5 FT) to go along with three boards, an assist and a steal in 32 minutes of play.
  • Terrell converted a four-point play at the 18:11 mark of the second half.
  • E.C. Matthews added 12 points and six rebounds.  He connected on 8-of-10 from the charity stripe on the evening.
  • Nicola Akele had his finest game of the season, filling out the stat sheet with 12 points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals in 18 minutes.  He connected on 5-of-7 from the floor - including all four 2FG attempts.
  • Akele sparked the Rhody bench on the evening.  The reserves combined for 25 points on 8-16 shooting and grabbed 12 rebounds.  Cyril Langevine added six points, Stanford Robinson four, and Christion Thompson three.  
  • Hassan Martin had nine points, four boards, and two steals while blocking three shots.  He became the second player in Rhode Island history and just the eighth in A-10 history to tally more than 300 blocks.  He now has 301 career swats.
  • Reigning A-10 Rookie of the Week Jeff Dowtin put forth another solid game at point guard, totaling seven points (3-6 FG), five assists (zero turnovers), three rebounds, and three steals in 32 minutes.
  • As a team, Rhode Island shot 40.7% from the floor (22-54), including 3-of-14 from the perimeter.  The Rams connected on 23-of-35 from the charity stripe.
  • In total, there were 69 free throw attempts and 51 fouls called.
  • Rhody dished out 12 assists while committing 11 turnovers.  URI blocked eight shots and forced 12 steals.

Stat of the Game, pt. I
13 - Rhode Island scored 13 points off turnovers tonight.

Stat of the Game, pt. II
25:6 - Jeff Dowtin is posting a 4.16:1 assist/turnover ratio in the seven games which he has started at point guard.

What's Next
Rhode Island hosts Dayton on Friday, Feb. 9 in another A-10 Friday Night Showcase on ESPN2.  It is the second meeting of the season between the Rams and the Flyers.  UD captured the first meeting, 67-64 on Jan. 6.

Mike Corey and Jason Capel will provide the broadcast call on ESPN2, beginning at 7 p.m.

The game can be heard live locally on the Rhody Sports Network on B101 (101.5 FM) and through the iHeartMedia app, with Steve McDonald and Don Kaull.