For the first time in school history, the Rhode Island Men’s Basketball team clinched the A-10 Conference Championship on Friday night. The school joined the conference in 1980.
The Rams destroyed the Dayton Flyers in the second half to earn the victory, outscoring Dayton 45-22, a 23 point margin. Their swarming pressure defense throughout the second half left Dayton stunned.
URI won by a final score of 81-56.
It was a cool moment when the game ended. The players entered the stands and celebrated with the fans.
A Sweet Moment
Believe it or not, the game was a close battle throughout the first half. Both teams were causing turnovers, getting offensive rebounds, and scoring points in transition.
URI’s ability to force turnovers, despite some poor shooting, kept them in the game in the first half. They trailed by as much as 7 in the first half.
But the Rams went on a 9-2 run to close out the first half and take a 2 point, 36-34 lead into the locker room. (That was important, since URI was 20-0 when taking a lead into halftime this season.)
That was quite an accomplishment considering that Dayton shot 58-percent in the first half. For their part, URI shot 45 percent in the first half.
By the game’s end, the number were reversed. URI shot 54 percent. Dayton shot 43 percent.
2nd Half Destruction
The Rams began the second half with the momentum they ended the first half with. They went on another 7-0 run early in the second half (prior to the first tv timeout).
It only got better.
Rhode Island made 14 straight shots at one point in the second half. It marked an 18-4 run. That put the Rams up 15 points, with just over 12 minutes to go in the game.
It was over. The only question remaining was how much they’d win by.
It was yet another balanced scoring attack for Rhody. Jeff Dowtin led the Rams in scoring, putting up 20 points. E.C. Matthews scored 18. Jared Terrell scored 17.
Make no mistake: there’s more work ahead for the Rams.
Next up for the Rams is a date at home with St. Joseph’s, at 7pm on Tuesday. Next Friday, they’ll go on the road and face Davidson at 7pm to close out the regular season.
Then it’s on to Washington DC for the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament. There, the Rams will attempt to repeat their tournament championship run from last year.