Rams Clinch Share of A-10 Regular Season Title With Overtime Win at La Salle

Photo Credit: Alan Hubbard
Photo Credit: Alan Hubbard

Rhody Starters
Matthews, Dowtin, Robinson, Terrell, Berry 

La Salle Starters
Powell, Stukes, Washington, Phiri, Johnson

How It Happened

Rhode Island (22-4, 14-1 A-10) clinched a share of the Atlantic 10 regular-season title by holding off La Salle 95-93 Tuesday night.

La Salle (11-17, 5-10 A-10) got off to a hot start, opening with a 9-2 run over the first 3:02 of the game. The lead got to as many as 12 points when Johnnie Shuler hit two free throws to put the Explorers up, 30-18 at 7:12 of the half. Rhode Island then used a 12-0 run - sparked by five points each from E.C. Matthews and Jared Terrell - to even the score at 30 apiece.

Things remained tight through the rest of the half, but the Rams scored the final basket before the break to take a 39-37 advantage into the locker room.

Rhode Island extended its lead to six points (61-55) after back-to-back buckets from Russell with 10:28 remaining in regulation. Later in the half, the Rams had a seven-point lead at 77-70 after Stanford Robinson made two free throws with 3:04 left, but the Explorers responded with six straight points to pull make it a 77-76 game with 50 seconds to go.

It was a back-and-fourth battle from that point on, with each team matching the other's production until time eventually expired. Jeff Dowtin first scored to put URI on top 79-76 with 24 seconds left on the clock. La Salle then missed a 3-pointer, but Saul Phiri got the offensive rebound, was fouled and made both free throws to pull the Explorers within one with seven seconds remaining. Dowtin was fouled on the in-bounds play and responded by making both free throws, putting Rhody up back up by three (81-78) with six seconds left. After being fouled with four seconds on the clock, La Salle's Amar Stukes made the first of two from the line, missing the second intentionally to set up the offensive rebound and put-back basket by Tony Washington, tying the score at 81-81 with 2.7 seconds to go. A final-second heave by Jarvis Garrett just missed, sending the game to overtime.

On the first possession of overtime, Russell hit Langevine for a layup and foul. Langevine converted the 3-point play to put Rhody up three. Phiri responded with a drive of his own to pull the Explorers back within one at 83-82. A Matthews jumper gave the Rams an 86-83 lead, but B.J. Johnson came right back with a layup to make it a one-point game again. A Terrell free throw made it 87-85, but Stukes then tied it up with a pair of makes from the line.

Lagevine then scored on consecutive possessions to open a 91-87 Rhody lead. Johnson made a free throw to make it 91-88, and a pair of Stukes free throws with 1:25 left in overtime made the score 91-90.

La Salle had the ball with 12.6 seconds remaining, but Johnson lost control of the ball and threw it into the hands of Dowtin, who held still waiting to be fouled. He made two free throws to put the Rams up 93-90, and then fouled Pookie Powell to force him to the line. Powell made both, but the Explorers were forced to send Dowtin to the line again with 2.8 seconds left. The sophomore point guard connected on both once again, making it a three-point game. Rhody then fouled Stukes to send him to the line, where he made the first. La Salle was called for a lane violation on the second, giving URI the ball. The Rams were able to inbound and run the clock out to secure the victory.

Inside the Box Score

  • The win improves Rhode Island to 14-1 in the Atlantic 10, matching the program record for conference wins. The Rams also had 14 A-10 victories during the Sweet 16 season of 1987-88.
  • Rhode Island won its seventh road A-10 game for the second straight season. The team had achieved the feat only once in program history prior to last season.
  • Sophomore Jeff Dowtin scored a career-high 25 points, 19 of which came after halftime. He also had seven assists, five rebounds and three steals.
  • Redshirt senior Stanford Robinson registered a season-high 20 points and grabbed seven rebounds before fouling out. It was his 11th game in double figures this season, and first 20-point game of the year.
  • Redshirt senior E.C. Matthews scored 13 points and passed Sly Williams to move into fourth all-time with 1,778 career points. 
  • Senior Jared Terrell finished with 14 points and four rebounds.
  • Freshman Fatts Russell scored 10 points off the bench. He added a career-high five steals, including four in the first half.
  • Sophomore Cyril Langevine scored nine points and had three rebounds before fouling out. He scored seven of his nine points in overtime.
  • Rhode Island forced La Salle to commit 19 turnovers, 10 of which came the first half.
  • The Rams committed just seven turnovers on 88 total possessions.
  • La Salle's B.J. Johnson had 29 points and 23 rebounds.
  • The 95 points were a season-high for the Rams, as well as the most since a 97-77 win over Maine on Nov. 8, 2013.

Stat of the Game
5 - Rhode Island had five players score in double figures for the fifth time this season. It is the fifth different combination of five players to each score 10+ points.

  • Providence: Russell (20), Garrett (15), Berry (12), Terrell (11), Dowtin (10)
  • Florida Gulf Coast: Matthews (20), Terrell (18), Robinson (14), Dowtin (11), Berry (10)
  • St. Bonaventure: Matthews (20), Dowtin (18), Terrell (13), Berry (12), Garrett (10)
  • Richmond: Terrell (17), Langevine (15), Russell (14), Dowtin (11), Berry (10)
  • La Salle: Dowtin (25), Robinson (20), Terrell (14), Matthews (13) and Russell (10)

What's Next
Rhode Island is back at the Ryan Center Friday, Feb. 23 to host Dayton. The game will tip off at 7 p.m. on ESPN2.