Rams Advance to A-10 Title Game with 90-87 Win Over St. Joe's

Photo Credit: Mitchell Leff
Photo Credit: Mitchell Leff

Rhode Island Starters
Matthews, Dowtin, Robinson, Terrell, Berry

Saint Joseph's Starters
Newkirk, Robinson, Longpre, Clover, Funk

How it Happened
Rhode Island (25-6) used a second half comeback to beat Saint Joseph's, 90-87, and advance to the title game of the Atlantic 10 Championship for the second straight season Saturday afternoon.

Saint Joseph's (16-16) established an eight-point led after five consecutive points by Pierfrancesco Oliva put the Hawks up 23-15. Rhode Island (25-6) was able to get within two - 28-26 - thanks to four straight points from Andre Berry with 8:36 to play in the half. Saint Joseph's answered, going on a 5-0 run to go up 33-26 at 7:57. The Hawks pushed their lead to eight after a tip-in from Nick Robinson (38-30). Rhode Island had consecutive 3-point scoring possessions from Jeff Dowtin and Jared Terrell to make the score 44-39 with 1:56 left of the half. However, a classic three-point play by SJU's Robinson gave the Hawks a 47-40 advantage going into the break.

The Hawk lead got to as many as 11 points after a Shavar Newkirk layup within the first two minutes of play in the second half. Rhode Island then used an 11-4 run to get within four - 55-51 - after a three-point play by Dowtin with 14:31 left. But the Hawks found themselves up eight once again after a Taylor Funk 3-pointer with 10:40 on the clock.

Jarvis Garrett sparked the Rams by hitting back-to-back 3-pointers to get the Rams within three with 9:04 to go. Cyril Langevine gave Rhode Island its first lead of the game - 73-71 - after a three-point play with 6:15 remaining. A jumper by Newkirk tied things up, but it was all Rhody the rest of the way as the Rams never lost their lead for the remaining 5:42. Fatts Russell hit consecutive 3-pointers to put the Rams up four (79-75) and Terrell pushed the lead to 82-75 with 3:37 remaining.

The Hawks would not go down without a fight, as Oliva and Robinson each scored 3-pointers in the final 10 seconds of the game to keep the score within three points. However Terrell made one of two at the line to seal the 90-87 victory for the Rams.

Inside the Box Score

  • Senior Andre Berry scored a game-high 18 points, with 14 coming in the first half. He just missed a double-double getting nine rebounds.
  • Sophomore Jeff Dowtin had his second career double-double scoring 16 points and dishing out 10 assists. He was 6-of-8 from the floor and also contributed six rebounds.
  • Redshirt senior E.C. Matthews hit several big shots in the second half and finished with 14 points and five rebounds.
  • Freshman Fatts Russell had 14 points off the bench, including three 3-point baskets.
  • Senior Jared Terrell was the fifth player in double figures for the Rams, contributing 13 points, to go with six rebounds. Terrell moved into 10th place in scoring in program history. He now has 1,726, moving past Kenny Green (1,724 from 1985-1990).
  • This is the sixth time this season Rhode Island has had five players in double figures. Each time it has been a different combination of five players.
  • Senior Jarvis Garrett sparked Rhody's second-half rally with back-to-back 3-pointers. He also had five assists for the second straight game and had three rebounds.
  • Rhode Island had 22 assists, the second-most in a game this season. It is the third time this year the Rams have had at least 22 in one game.
  • The Rams committed just five turnovers, including one after halftime. It is the 16th time this year they have had less than 10 turnovers.
  • Rhode Island made a season-high 14 3-point baskets. It was the most for the Rams since making 16 against Saint Joseph's last season.

Stat of the Game
– With the victory, Rhode Island has won 90 games over the last four seasons, matching the most ever in a four-year span. The Rams also won 90 in 2009-10 through 2010-11.

What's Next

The Rams will face Davidson in its first back-to-back Championship game appearance in program history. Tip off is set for 1:00 p.m. on CBS.