Matthews' 26 points Leads First Place Rhody to Tough 79-74 Win at Richmond

Matthews' 26 points Leads First Place Rhody to Tough 79-74 Win at Richmond

How It Happened:
Rhode Island knocked down six free throws with 18 seconds to play to seal the 79-74 victory at Richmond.

The win by the Rams (16-5, 8-2 A-10) is their fifth-straight and gives them a share of first place in the Atlantic 10 along with VCU.

Rhody led for close to 39 minutes, opening up an eight-point lead (16-8) less than eight minutes into the game.  That lead extended to as much as 11 points after an and-one play by E.C. Matthews at the 6:15 mark made it 27-16.  Richmond went on a 9-3 push over the next 4:25 to cut it to five (30-25) late.  The Rams took a 33-26 edge at the break.

With 15:29 to play in regulation, a Hassan Martin layup put the Rhody lead back to 11 points (41-30).  But Richmond - one of the top home teams in the A-10 (10-2 overall; 4-0 A-10) - responded with an 8-1 run over the next 4 minutes, fueled by three Rhody turnovers.  A 3-pointer by UR's Josh Jones capped the run and made it 41-39 with 12:01 to go.

The two teams traded runs, as the Rams put forth a 12-3 push and built another double-digit lead on a deep Matthews trey (65-54, 4:37).  The Spiders would not go away, beginning to foul with 2:38 to play.  The Rams made 12-of-18 over the final stretch, including six straight with 18 seconds to play.

Inside the Box Score and Beyond:
* E.C. Matthews poured in 26 points, knocking down 7-of-14 from the floor and 3-of-7 from the charity stripe.  He also added five rebounds in 38 minutes of play.

* Hassan Martin recorded his sixth double-double, with 16 points and a career-best 16 rebounds.  The sophomore forward also had two blocked shots, pushing his career total to 146 - just three away from moving into third place on the school's career blocks list.

* T.J. Buchanan played a heroic game off the bench, with a career-high 15 points (4-7 FG; 7-8 FT) to go with five rebounds and three assists in 27 minutes.

* Rhode Island's bench outscored Richmond, 28-10.  In addition to Buchanan's 15, Biggie Minnis had six, Jarelle Reischel five, and Earl Watson two.

* The Rams also dominated the glass, holding a 44-29 edge overall.  Rhody doubled-up Richmond on the offensive glass, 16-8 - good for 17 points.

* Rhody shot 56.0% (14-25) from the floor in the second half - the 16th half with a FG% of 50.0% or better this season.

Stat of the Game:
13 - Hassan Martin pulled down 13 defensive rebounds for the game - 10 in the second half alone.

What's Next:
After a week off, the Rams return to action on Wednesday, Feb. 11 when they travel to Hawk Hill to take on Saint Joseph's at 7 p.m.  Tune into the Rhody Sports Network and B101 (101.5 FM) for the call, with Steve McDonald and Don Kaull.