Gut-punched. The Rhode Island Rams and George Washington Colonials went back and forth for 40 minutes, but a Joe McDonald jumper with nine seconds left proved to be the difference as GW squeezed out a 66-65 win at the Ryan Center tonight. Rhody had a chance in the final seconds and ran a great out-of-bounds play for Xavier Munford, but he missed an open look at a three. A Jordan Hare put-back was, um, “blocked” at the buzzer, and the Rams fell to 1-3 in Atlantic 10 conference play. Dan Hurley thought Hare was fouled on the final play of the game, and we’ll just say it looked like the GW player got more arm than ball. Them’s the breaks, as URI drops to 6-11 on the season.
Much like the St. Louis game, tonight’s affair was close from start to finish. There were 10 ties and 10 lead changes in first half alone, en route to 19 ties 20 lead changes when the final buzzer sounded. The biggest lead for either team was five when the Rams led 61-56 with 5:01 to play. But a 7-0 run for the Colonials gave them a two-point lead with 1:55 to play. After a Mike Powell lay-up tied things, McDonald went 1-2 from the line to put GW on top 64-63 with under a minute to go. Dan Hurley drew up a great play to get Xavier Munford isolated on his man, and he drove to the bucket for a go-ahead layup with 37 seconds to go. Rhody played tight defense on the Colonials’ last possession, but McDonald drilled a nice baseline 12-footer for the eventual game-winner. The freshman point guard finished with 12 points for GW on 4-4 shooting, including 2-2 from three point range.
The three Ms did work for the Rams, with Munford, Andre Malone, and Nikola Malesevic combining to score 50 of Rhody’s 65 points. Munford led the way with 20, shooting 6-15 from the floor and 2-4 from three. He also added four rebounds and five assists in a losing effort. Malesevic poured in 16 to go along with six rebounds and a couple of assists. He shot 5-9 from the floor and 2-4 from three. Malone rounded out the double-figure scorers with 14 on 7-11 shooting. He was actually 7-7 from two point range as he went 0-4 from three. He also chipped in three boards to go along with three steals. As a team, the Rams shot 50 percent from the floor and 40 percent from three, building on their solid effort from the St. Louis game. But it wasn’t enough to put away the Colonials, as they shot 51 percent from the floor to snag the W.
George Washington dominated the glass tonight, out-rebounding Rhody to the tune of 34-25. They made it hurt too, converting 16 second-chance points and holding 32-20 edge in points in the paint. URI also found themselves in foul trouble all night, as they were whistled for an insane 23 team fouls, with Mike Powell fouling out late in the contest. Every Ram player who saw action was whistled for multiple fouls, and it led to Hurley having to get creative with substitutions throughout the contest. Mike Aaman on the bench in a walking boot certainly didn’t help the team’s depth.
This was a tough one to swallow, for sure. In a back-and-forth affair, the Rams just didn’t have enough rebounding and inside presence to seal the deal tonight, despite a strong effort. We’ll have a much more detailed break-down of this heart-breaker tomorrow as we try to figure out what Rhody needs to do to snag a win in their next game this weekend.