The Rhode Island Rams turned in their poorest shooting half of the season at the worst possible time last night, falling to the Xavier Musketeers 55-42 in Kingston. Rhody scored just nine points in the final 15 minutes and 36 seconds of the game, going just 2-22 from the field (1-16 from three) during that stretch. “The 15:36 Nightmare” also included a six minute 40 second scoreless streak in which Rhody missed 11 consecutive shots. It was epic, and not in a good way. Let’s see what else we can take from last night’s debacle…
Three Things to Feel Good About
1. Mike Aaman – The only Ram to play the entire game without a blindfold, Aaman finished with eight points on 2-2 shooting and 4-5 from the charity stripe. The freshman also chipped in with a couple of rebounds in his 13 minutes of play. Aaman likely would have seen more minutes based on his effectiveness, but he missed a good chunk of the first half due to foul trouble.
2. Turnovers – Despite struggling in virtually every other category, Rhody was able to limit their turnovers to just eight last night. The Musketeers committed 14 miscues, including eight in the first half (to just seven made field goals). URI also held a slim 7-6 edge in points off turnovers for the game.
3. The Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Foundation – While Rhody fans likely aren’t proud of the results from the game itself, they can surely be proud of this: thanks in part to last night’s seventh annual Pink Out Game, the Rhode Island Rams have now raised more than $50,000 for breast cancer research since the 2006-07 season. URI was also the first D-I school to hold a breast cancer charity event in association with a men’s hoops game. A tip of the cap to the University and the Athletic Department for a job well done in support of a worthy cause.
Three Things to Be Concerned About
1. Shooting – In case you hadn’t heard, Rhody had just a tiiiiiny bit of difficulty putting the ball in the basket last night. You’ve no doubt seen both the team and individual numbers by now, so we won’t bore you with them. But it’s clear that Rhody just doesn’t have the scorers they need to stay competitive on a consistent basis this season. If neither Munford nor Malesevic can get hot, the Rams are pretty much doomed. Hopefully this will all change with the pieces Hurley is adding for next season.
2. Rebounding – Not only did the scoring vanish in the second half, but URI’s presence on the glass did as well. The Rams held the Musketeers to just one offensive rebound in the first half, and they entered the locker room all square on the boards. But the second half saw Rhody pull down just 11 boards in 20 minutes. By contrast, Xavier’s Travis Taylor tallied 13 second-half rebounds all by himself, en route to a +16 margin for his team on the night.
3. In-Game Adjustments – There’s no doubt Xavier completely packed their defense into the post area last night, filling up any and all lanes when the Rams tried to attack. As a result, Dan Hurley’s squad was relegated to shooting more three-pointers than two-pointers. But when it became clear that the Rams couldn’t hit a three if the basket was 30 feet wide, why not at least try to get it down low and draw a foul? The officials were whistle-happy all game, and Rhody could have perhaps ended a few scoring droughts by hitting a couple of free throws.
The loss last night coupled with a St. Bonaventure win pretty much dashed URI’s hopes at making it to the Atlantic 10 Tournament. We’ll have to see if that changes anything in terms of how Hurley handles the lineup and rotation from here on out. Rhody plays their next game at home on Sunday against the La Salle Explorers.