Another close back-and-forth affair, and another Rhody loss. This time it comes at the hands of lowly Fordham, 66-63 at Rose Hill Gymnasium this afternoon. Rhode Island had three chances in the final 15 seconds to either tie or take the lead and got the ball into the hands of Xavier Munford all three times. But X missed a three, a two-point jumper, and then another three at the buzzer. The other Rams picked up just their second win of the season without the services of Chris Gaston, moving to 6-14 overall. There’s really no way to sugar-coat this; it was a bad loss to one of the bottom teams in the Atlantic 10, and it drops URI to 6-12 on the season, and 1-4 in the conference.
A tight, back-and-forth first half saw Rhody with a 32-31 lead after the first 20 minutes, with most of the heavy lifting being done by Mike Powell and T.J. Buchanan. The second half was much of the same, but URI found themselves in some serious foul trouble once again. The hometown Rams saw an amazing 27 fouls whistled against them, with Munford, Buchanan, Nikola Malesevic, and Alwayne Bigby all in foul trouble at various points. Is Rhody struggling to play defense without fouling, or has the officiating been that poor over the past two games? Hopefully it’s the latter, but it certainly looks like it could be a little bit of both.
URI took a five point lead at 42-37 with 15:39 to play, but Fordham used a 12-4 run to go up 49-46 with 10:16 left. Rhody was down by as many as give (56-51) before a pair of threes (Powell and Buchanan once again) gave Rhode Island a 63-62 lead with 1:45 to play. But URI would not score again, going 0-4 the rest of the way as Fordham closed the game out at the free-throw line. Five points was the largest lead for either team, but between the fouls and the missed shots down the stretch, Rhody couldn’t find away to come away with the win.
Rebounding was once again an issue as Fordham held a 45-34 edge on the glass, including an 19-7 advantage in offensive rebounds. URI had five players in double figures in scoring, led by Powell with 14 points on 4-10 shooting. Andre Malone added 12, and Malesevic, Buchanan, and Munford had 10 apiece. The efficient shooting that Rhode Island saw in the last two games was gone, however. Rhody shot only 38.3 percent from the field and 25 percent from three. Fordham wasn’t any better (36.7 and 16.7 percent, respectively), but Mandell Thomas, Travion Leonard, and Ryan Rhoomes dominated the glass to propel the home team. Branden Frazier led the way for the other Rams with 20 points on 4-16 shooting, but 11-13 from the charity stripe. Thomas added 17 and Leonard 13 to round out the double-figure scorers for Fordham.
Not much went right for Rhody in this one, and they’ve gone 0-2 since the big St. Louis win against two teams that seemed pretty beatable. Now URI looks ahead to see VCU and Butler on the schedule, so things won’t get much easier from here on out. We’ll have a full breakdown of this painful loss tomorrow before we never speak of it again.