It should have been an easy win.
This game was supposed to be something to quell the fears of anyone concerned about the University of Rhode Island men’s basketball team.
It was anything but.
Instead it was a win. You could even call it a lucky win because the way the Rams played, they certainly didn’t deserve to leave Philadelphia with what ended up being a 95-93 overtime win over LaSalle. After all, LaSalle is a less-than-impressive Atlantic 10 foe regardless of where the game was played.
It was an Ugly to start. But it was followed by brilliance to make it a ballgame. Nevertheless, the Rams, on Tuesday, lacked that killer instinct to step on an opponent’s throat. Unlike tonight, URI had no problem doing most of the last two months.
Winning gives you that attitude and confidence. So maybe the loss to St. Bonaventure Friday night did something to mess with the Rams’ mindset.
Or maybe they just played bad.
Teams are allowed to have a poor performance and Tuesday was certainly that.
URI should have finished better. There’s no problem working clock in the final two minutes and letting Jared Terrell or Jeff Dowtin dismantle a defender off the dribble and attack the basket. The problem was that when LaSalle realized it could not let URI have its way going to the hoop, the secondary plan of attack was pull-up jumpers from a distance. That makes coaches and educated fans go crazy.
The game shouldn’t have gone to overtime. But if one person blames Hurley for having his team foul up three hasn’t done much research into winning basketball games. (The actual question is why Hurley – or any other coach in the country, for that matter – doesn’t have a player commit a lane violation. It would turn into a giant game of chicken and there’s really nothing the refs can do as far as stopping a player from stepping into the lane. You figure at some point, the shooter will accidentally make one, as LaSalle did twice Tuesday). Not getting a rebound in the lane is on the player, not the coach. URI’s Cyril Langevine had Tony Washington boxed out, but in focusing so much on making sure Washington didn’t get to the glass, he failed to remember to get his hands up to actually rebound.
Ah well. Langevine has been playing so well recently he’s allowed a miscue here and there.
This ugly win would loom a lot larger if URI was playing anywhere near this level at any other point of the season. But the Rams’ resume says this was an aberration.
Disconcerting Sign? Nope.
Even if you wanted to pair it with the Bonnies’ loss and say “Ohhhh look, URI is starting to struggle,” Rhody’s got a game in the comfy confides of the Ryan Center (where the Rams are undefeated) against a middle-of-the-road Dayton team it should beat regardless of site.
Ignore the bad. Focus on the good news from Tuesday.
URI won, EC Matthews’ went down and got back up after going knee-to-knee with a LaSalle defender in overtime. And when it came time to make free throws, Dowtin showed he’s the guy you want with the game (or season) on the line.
Tuesday wasn’t pretty and there’s plenty to pick apart. But that’s not what anyone outside of Hurley’s actual team should do with this win. Forget about this one. Put it in a locked box, weigh it down and toss it into Narragansett Bay.
Once the real games start, it’s not like anyone should remember it anyway.