Sixteen is the URI Men’s basketball team’s lucky number this week. First, the AP poll released on Monday ranked the Rams 16th in the nation.
Then the Rams dominated Tuesday night’s game against Richmond in the second half to cruise to an easy 85-67 win. That’s their 16th in a row. The streak represents the longest single-season win streak in program history.
The Rams were especially effective in the second half, outscoring Richmond 50-38.
Five players from URI scored double figures on Tuesday night, including Jared Terrell (17), Cyrile Langevin (15), Daron “Fatts” Russell (14), Jeff Dowtin (11) and Andre Berry. The game served as another example of the Rams well-balanced attack and depth–particularly at guard.
The game was close for most of the first half. The scariest moment of the first half came near its end, when superstar senior E.C. Matthews had the ball on a fast break and appeared headed towards the basket. He seemed to turn his knee awkwardly and fell to the floor. Matthews needed assistance to be taken off the court. He never returned.
After the game however, Coach Dan Hurley told reporters that his prognosis was better than expected. More information, he said, would be available on Wednesday.
A major factor in the game was the turnover differential. Richmond turned the ball over 19 times. The Rams, who for most of the game featured a four guard offense, turned it over just 9 times.
URI also held the rebounding edge, 32-28. Both teams shot the ball well. Each team shot 50-percent collectively from the floor.
While the Spiders were able to hang tough throughout the first half, the Rams depth and superior athleticism ultimately wore down Richmond in the second half.
The win gives the Rams a flawless 13-0 Atlantic 10 Conference record.
Next up for the Rams is a showdown with second place St. Bonaventure, which boasts an impressive 19-6 record of their own, and a conference record of 9-4, on Friday night at 7pm.