First-Place Rhode Island Off to Best A-10 Start in Program History; Downs Mason, 71-56

First-Place Rhode Island Off to Best A-10 Start in Program History; Downs Mason, 71-56

How It Happened:
Rhode Island registered its best A-10 start in program history (11-3), with a 71-56 victory at George Mason.

With the win, the Rams (19-6, 11-3 A-10) maintain a share of first place in the Atlantic 10 standings along with VCU.

There were four ties and five lead changes early on in the first half.  Mason held its largest lead - 13-9 - with 13:48 left in the period before a Rhody 14-2 run, capped by an E.C. Matthews 3-pointer, gave the Rams a 23-15 lead.  Rhody would not trail the rest of the way,

URI would build as much as a 16-point advantage, after two Jarelle Reischel free throws made it 36-20 with 4:22 left.  The Rams would take a 41-27 lead into the locker room at halftime.

After Rhody took its largest lead of the afternoon - 17 points (48-31, 17:03) - in the second half, Mason scored six unanswered and began to chip away at the lead.  The Patriots would cut it to single-digits, getting as close as nine points (53-44) with 7:23 to go.

But the Rams would close out the game with clutch shooting, including a 3-point dagger from Jared Terrell with 3:03 left and 9-of-11 shooting from the free throw line down the stretch.

Inside the Box Score and Beyond:
* E.C. Matthews led all scorers with 18 points.  Coming off the bench after re-aggravating  his foot injury, the sophomore guard knocked down three first half 3-pointers and made 5-of-6 from the line.

* Jared Terrell poured in 12 of his 16 points in the first half.  He was 6-of-12 from the floor (2-5 3FG), while also grabbing five rebounds.

* Jarvis Garrett was the third Rhody player in double-figures, with 13 points.  He made all eight of his free throw attempts on the night, and dished out three assists in 29 minutes of play.

* Biggie Minnis re-entered the starting lineup and played well, with six points, four boards, and two assists in 29 minutes.

* Overall, all nine Rhode Island players that saw the floor scored at two points and grabbed at least one rebound.  URI's bench outscored Mason's, 28-15.

* The trio of Hassan Martin (24 minutes), Earl Watson (18 minutes), and Gilvydas Biruta (10 minutes) each had four fouls on the night.  Martin still managed to tally six points and seven rebounds, while Watson corralled six boards to go along with four points, two assists and two blocked shots in 18 minutes.

* For the second straight game, Rhody got valuable minutes from Jarelle Reischel off the bench.  The junior forward had four points, two rebounds, an assist, a blocked shot, and a steal in 14 minutes.

* The Rams' defense held Mason to just six field goals in the first half and 30.8% shooting for the game.  Inside the arc, GMU managed to connect on just 27.9% of its shots (12-43 2FG).

* URI was +3 on the turnover margin, committing 13 for the game while forcing 16 - marking the fifth straight game that the Rams had a positive T.O. margin.

* It also marked the third straight time that URI followed a loss with a three-game win streak this season.  The Rams rattled off six straight wins following the Dec. 10 loss at Providence, five consecutive after dropping the Jan. 17 game at UMass, and the last three games following an L at Saint Joseph's (Feb. 11).

Stats of the Game:
84.6% - Rhode Island made its first 14 free throw attempts en route to connecting on 22-of-26 for the game.  It is the fourth time in 14 A-10 games that the Rams shot 80.0% or better from the charity stripe.

What's Next:
The Rams return home to host Davidson on Wednesday, Feb. 25 at 7 p.m at the Thomas M. Ryan Center.  The game is the ninth annual Pink Out, presented by South County Hospital, Lexus of Warwick, and BankRI.

The game will air live locally on OSN (Cox ch. 5/1005 HD) and fans can also tune into the Rhody Sports Network and B101 (101.5 FM) for the call, with Steve McDonald and Don Kaull.