Russell Drops 41 to Lead Rhody to 86-85 Overtime Win at Saint Joseph's

Photo Credit: Erik Schelkun, Elsestar Images
Photo Credit: Erik Schelkun, Elsestar Images

Rhody Starters
Harris, Russell, Martin, Langevine, Dowtin

Saint Joseph's Starters
Kimble, Brown, Jr., Bynum, Clover, Edwards

How It Happened
Fatts Russell scored 41 points – including Rhode Island's last 19 points – to lead the Rams to an 86-85 overtime win over Saint Joseph's Tuesday night.

Rhode Island (15-14, 8-9 Atlantic 10) battled back from an 11-point second half deficit, forcing overtime when Russell made a 3-pointer with 5.5 seconds left in regulation. It set up Rhody's second straight overtime win on the road, and its third consecutive win overall.

Both teams were clicking in the first half. Rhode Island led by as many as eight points following a Jeff Dowtin basket at 11:02 of the period. Saint Joseph's (13-17, 6-11 A-10) used a 10-0 run to key a rally that saw the Hawks go up by as many as six points. With the Hawks up 37-31, Rhody ended the half on a 4-1 spurt over the final 1:57 to go into the half down, 38-35.

Saint Joseph's pushed its lead to 10 points by scoring the first seven points after the break. Rhody began the half by missing its first seven shots before Dowtin hit a 3-pointer at the 15:31 mark. Another Hawks run saw URI down 51-40, but 10-0 straight points by the Rams got it back to a one-point game. Ryan Preston started the spurt with a layup. Christion Thompson drew a charge that led to a Dowtin jumper, and Fatts Russell got fouled after a steal and made both free throws. A Cyril Langevine layup and another Dowtin made it 51-50.

Again Saint Joseph's extended its lead to seven with six straight points, but Rhode Island kept fighting back. The Rams did not allow a field goal over the final 4:16 of regulation, finally tying the score when Russell hit a 3-pointer with 5.5 second left in regulation.

After Saint Joseph's scored the first points of the extra period, Russell scored the next four points, giving Rhode Island an 81-79 lead, its first since the first half. The Hawks retook the lead with a 3-point shot by Troy Holston, but Russell's seventh 3-pointer of the night gave Rhody the lead, and the Rams held on from there for the victory.

Inside the Box Score

  • Sophomore Fatts Russell scored a career-high 41 points. He scored 16 points in each half and nine in overtime. It was the most points by a Rhode Island player since Tom Garrick's program-record 50 against Rutgers in the 1988 Atlantic 10 Championship.
  • Russell made seven 3-point baskets, the most by a Ram since Xavier Munford had eight at Auburn on Nov. 25, 2012.
  • He had three assists. His first of the night was the 100th of the season for him.
  • Junior Jeff Dowtin had 23 points to go with five rebounds and three assists. He also had no turnovers in 43 minutes.
  • Junior Cyril Langevine was the third player in double digits, finishing with 10 points, five rebounds, two blocks and one steal.
  • Senior Ryan Preston gave the Rams a big boost. Playing a career-high 23 minutes, he had four points, six rebounds and a blocked shot off the bench.
  • Saint Joseph's had a 16-2 edge in second-chance points.
  • With the win, David Cox became just the fifth coach in program history win at least 15 games in his first season. The others were Jim Harrick (25-9 in 1997-98), Claude English (21-8 in 1980-81), Tom Penders (20-10 in 1987-88), and Bob "Red" Haire (16-6 in 1948-49).

What's Next
Rhode Island closes out the regular season at the Ryan Center against Massachusetts on Saturday, March 9. Game time is 4 p.m. Seniors Ryan Preston and Will Leviton will be honored before the game.