Second-Half Rally Falls Just Short as Rams Lose at West Virginia, 86-81

Photo Credit: Alan Hubbard
Photo Credit: Alan Hubbard

Rhody Starters
Harris, Russell, Martin, Langevine, Dowtin

West Virginia Starters
Osabuohien, McCabe, Haley, Matthews, Jr., Tshiebwe

How It Happened
Rhode Island battled back from an 11-point half time deficit to tie the game, but the Rams ultimately came up short at West Virginia, 86-81.

Back-and-forth action was the theme early. West Virginia (7-0) opened an 11-6 lead behind eight points from Jermaine Haley. Rhody (5-3) responded with a 6-0 run, capped by a steal and coast-to-coast drive for a dunk by Cyril Langevine, putting the Rams up, 12-11 at the first media timeout.

Rhode Island took a 19-18 lead on a 3-pointer from Jacob Toppin with 10:03 left in the half. From there, West Virginia controlled play, outscoring the Rams 26-14 the rest of the period, taking a 44-33 lead into halftime. Emmitt Matthews, Jr. (14 points) and Derek Culver (12 points did most of the first-half damage for the Mountaineers.

The Rams responded out of the break, hitting 11 of their first 17 shots to even the score 60-60 on Jeff Dowtin's layup with 9:26 to go. West Virginia got five straight points from Oscar Tshiebwe to pull back in front, 65-60. Rhode Island stayed close and had the score down to 73-69 after a Langevine free throw. However, Dana Tate was called for a foul and then picked up a technical foul seconds later. West Virginia made just 2-of-4 free throws, keeping it a two possession game at 75-69.

Tyrese Martin hit a baseline runner to trim the lead to 75-71. Jermaine Harris hit a pair of free throws to make it a two point game. Eventually the Rams cut it to one point at 82-81 on a layup by Langevine with 35.9 seconds to go. With Rhody needing a stop, Haley hit a layup with 12 seconds to go. Rhody had the ball for a chance to tie, but a bad pass caused a turnover with four seconds remaining. West Virginia hit two free throws to ice the game.

Inside the Box Score

  • Junior Fatts Russell continued his historic scoring run, finishing with a game-high 32 points. It was the sixth straight game he has scored 20 or more points.
  • Russell also had five assists and five steals.
  • Senior Cyril Langevine just missed a double-double, scoring 14 points and grabbing nine rebounds. He added three steals and a pair of blocked shots.
  • Sophomore Tyrese Martin was the third player in double figures, finishing with 10 points and five rebounds.
  • Freshman Jacob Toppin provided another boost off the bench. He scored five points and had six boards, despite being limited to 18 minutes due to foul trouble.
  • Senior Jeff Dowtin had six points and four assists. He moved into a tie with Jarvis Garrett for sixth place in program history with 398 assists.
  • Rhode Island had its best game of the season from 3-point range, hitting 7-of-10 (70.0 percent). Russell was 3-of-4, Martin was 2-of-2 and Toppin and Dana Tate were both 1-for-2.
  • West Virginia's Derek Culver scored 25 off the bench, while Jermaine Haley had 18 on 7-of-9 shooting.   
  • West Virginia was 24-of-31 at the free throw line.

What's Next
Rhode Island returns home to host in-state rival Providence Friday, Dec. 6. The game tips off at 7:02 p.m. and will air on ESPN2.