Stifling Second Half Defensive Effort Powers Rhode Island Past Detroit, 69-55

Stifling Second Half Defensive Effort Powers Rhode Island Past Detroit, 69-55

How It Happened:
Rhode Island's defense shut down Detroit in the second half, holding the Titans to just 19 points (6-21 FG; 21.4%) and seven rebounds as the Rams pulled away for a 69-55 victory at home.

The Rams jumped out to an 8-5 lead four minutes into the game, dunking three of their first four field goals (Hassan Martin 2, Gilvydas Biruta 1).  URI led by as many as six - 14-8, 13:19 - after another Martin jam, before Detroit went on a 12-6 push over the next four minutes, tying the game at 20-20 with 9:04 left in the half.

As Rhody went cold - connecting on just two FG over the next 6:00, the Titans heated up, taking a six-point lead (32-26) with 4:05 to go in the period.  Detroit would take a 36-34 edge into the locker room at the half.

E.C. Matthews sparked the Rhody offense in the second half - 19 points - but it was a team effort on defense.  Three of Martin's four blocks came in the second frame, while the defensive efforts of T.J. Buchanan, Biggie Minnis, and Earl Watson neutralized the Titans.

Inside the Box Score and Beyond:
* Matthews led all scorers with 23 points, while pulling down eight rebounds - seven in the second frame.  He also added two assists and a block in 36 minutes.

* Buchanan added 11 points off the bench, grabbing four rebounds in 28 minutes.  He led the Rhody reserves, which compiled 23 points on the afternoon.

* Martin was the third Ram in double figures.  The sophomore had 10 points, five boards, two assists, three steals and four blocks in 30 minutes of action.

* Biggie Minnis saw a season-high 29 minutes of action, dishing out a season-best five assists to go with five boards.

* For the game, the Rams attempted a season-high 34 free throws, making 26 of them - good for 76.5%.  It was the second-best single-game FT% mark of the season.

* The Rams were +5 on the turnover margin, forcing Detroit into 18 mishaps while committing just 13.  Rhody scored 22 points off turnovers.

* URI had seven blocked shots on the afternoon and has blocked 16 shots over its last two games.

* It marked the seventh time in 10 games that the Rams held their opponent to under 60 points in regulation.

Stat of the Game:
12 - E.C. Matthews made 12 of his 14 free throws on the afternoon.  It was the most made FT in a game by a Ram since Delroy James made 12 vs. Northeastern on Dec. 8, 2010.    

What's Next:
The Rams are off until New Year's Eve, when they host Brown at the Thomas M. Ryan Center at 4 p.m.  The game can be seen live locally on OSN (Cox ch. 5/1005 HD).

The Rhody Sports Network will also carry this - and every game - live on B101 (101.5 FM), with Steve McDonald and Don Kaull.  The pre-game show begins 30 minutes before tipoff.