There’s more to say, of course. But wow.
The Rhode Island Rams were led by a jaw-dropping performance from Xavier Munford tonight as they picked up their first win of the season, a 78-72 victory over the Auburn Tigers. This game was everything a great basketball game should be and more: Double-overtime. The first Rhody win. A THIRTY-THREE POINT performance from Munford. And so much more craziness and excitement. If you didn’t catch this one, here’s what you missed:
Auburn led the entire game, up until a Munford (who else?) three pointer with 4:59 remaining made it 56-56. A Malesevic layup 28 seconds later gave Rhody their first lead, but Auburn battled back. A Rob Chubb six-footer with 2:27 left tied the game at 58, and both defenses clamped down for the remainder of regulation. The Rams had the ball at the end with a chance to win it, but they never got a shot off as Mike Powell tripped coming across the lane and turned the ball over, sending the game to overtime.
The first OT was pretty much controlled by Auburn, up until the final seconds. The Tigers led by as many as five (63-58) with 1:55 remaining as the Rhody scoring drought continued. Andre Malone hit a big three to cut the deficit to two, but Allen Payne scored with 45 seconds left to put Auburn up 65-61 and things looked to be pretty much over. At that point, the Rams had just one… ONE team foul, so the foul-fest began. The Rams committed team fouls two, three, and four before Alwayne Bigby stole an inbounds pass and fed Munford for a layup, and the Rams were down just two with 23 seconds left. After fouls five, six, and seven, Noel Johnson had a chance to ice it at the line for the Tigers. But Johnson hit just one of two, and Rhody’s final chance resulted in Munford burying an absolutely INSANE three at the buzzer to send it into a second overtime. Seriously, it was about a 27-footer, falling out of bounds with three guys in his face. Other than that, it was a piece of cake. Ridiculous shot to tie the game at 66.
In the second OT, the Rams (mainly Malesevic and Munford) took over. In fact, Nik (7 points) and Munford (5 points) were the only two Rams to score in the extra extra frame. Rhody shot 4-5 from the line in the final 38 seconds – one of the many positives to take from this one. And when the dust settled, Rhody FINALLY landed in the W column, improving to 1-5. Yes, the record still isn’t that great, but this is the kind of win that can really get a team going. And let’s hope it does. Much more from this one to come tomorrow. For now, enjoy it Rhody Nation.