The song remains the same for the Rhode Island Rams. A 17-2 second half run sealed the deal for the La Salle Explorers as they took the lead and never gave it back, en route to a 72-65 win this afternoon. The loss all but eliminates Rhody from Atlantic 10 Tournament contention as they fall to 8-18 on the year and 3-10 in conference play.
URI started out slow in this one, going 4:58 without scoring a point before breaking off a small 9-3 run. The Rams never trailed in the final 9:33 of the first half, and actually led by as many as seven points at 26-19 following a Mike Aaman layup with 2:51 remaining. Rhode Island held a slim 30-27 lead heading into the locker room. In the second half, Rhody ran things back up to a seven-point advantage at 37-30 before their scoring drought began. A 7-0 Explorers run tied things up, but Xavier Munford quieted things down briefly with a jumper to put the Rams back in front. But Ramon Galloway took over, scoring the next seven La Salle points as part of a 10-0 run, giving his team a 47-39 advantage. URI never got closer than six points the rest of the way, and an untimely shooting slump sank Rhody once again.
Munford led the Rams with 18 points on 6-16 shooting from the field, while Mike Aaman and Nikola Malesevic added 15 apiece. Aaman was starting in place of Jordan Hare, who was bench for the duration of this game following a substandard effort at practice yesterday. Following the game against Xavier in which they took more three-pointers than two-pointers, Rhode Island looked to get the ball inside early and often in this one. Rhody scored 34 of their 65 points in the paint, and shot 44 percent from the field as a team. Tyreek Duren led all scorers with 21 points, and Jerrell Wright posted a double-double (12 points, 15 rebounds) for the Explorers.
Today’s game felt both frustrating and familiar to Rhody fans, as they were unable to recover from another prolonged drought from the floor. There were certainly a lot of positives to take from this one, however. They hung with one of the better teams in the conference, and the contributions from guys like Aaman and T.J. Buchanan did not go unnoticed. We’ll have a full breakdown of the good and the bad coming up tomorrow.