Ice cold shooting might be an understatement. The Rhode Island Rams shot 24 percent from the field for the game as they fell 55-42 to the Xavier Musketeers at the Ryan Center tonight. The Rams went 15 minutes and 23 seconds in the second half in which they went 1-20 from the field, allowing Xavier to turn a one point deficit into a 16-point lead, and that’s pretty much the story of the game. The Rams fall to 8-17 on the season and 3-9 in the Atlantic 10 with the loss.
URI started the game cold as well, as Xavier ran out to a 7-0 lead with Rhody failing to get in the board for the first five minutes and 12 seconds. But the Rams quickly caught fire, putting together an 11-0 run thanks in part to a couple of jumpers from Mike Powell where he displayed excellent body control. The game took a back-and-forth feel from there, with Rhode Island taking a slim 23-22 lead into the locker room.
The second half actually opened with a barrage of baskets for both teams, which was a stark contrast to the rock fight that played out for the other 35 minutes of action. Rhody took a 33-32 lead into the 16:00 media timeout, but it was all downhill from there. Xavier went on a 10-0 run in which the Rams shot 0-11 from the field, including 0-7 from three-point range. A three from Xavier Munford ended the drought, and a pair of Powell free throws got Rhody to within six before the Musketeers went on an run, this time 11-1. In that period, URI shot 0-9 from the field (0-6 from three) and 1-4 from the line. A Mike Aaman bucket in the final seconds got the Rams over the 40 point hump, but the second half was one of the ugliest 20 minutes of the season.
The shooting, oh man, the shooting. Rhode Island actually shot more threes than twos tonight, but neither worked. The Rams shot 8-24 (33 percent) from two point range and 5-30 (16.7 percent) from three to round out the 24.1 percent from the field. Not surprisingly, both the overall shooting percentage and the point total were season lows. And if you’re name isn’t Mike Aaman (2-2), you had a bad shooting night. The three Ms (Malesevic [0-8], Munford [5-17] and Malone [2-10]) combined to shoot 20 percent. Munford was the only Ram in double figures with 15 points as only five URI players scored in the entire game. Powell had nine, Malone and Aaman scored 8 apiece, and Jordan Hare chipped in with two. That was it. To make matters worse, Rhody also got squashed on the boards, getting out-rebounded 45-29. Freshman point guard Semaj Christon led all scorers with 16 points, and Travis Taylor added 13 for the Musketeers.
There’s not much more to say about this one, other than it was probably the ugliest game of the year. We know this team can go through hot and cold spells, but any Rhody fan would be hard pressed to remember anything like the second half of tonight’s game. We’ll have a full breakdown of this loss coming up tomorrow as we search for positives that URI can carry over into their next game coming up on Sunday.