With just two games left in the season, the Rhode Island are back in action tonight in the City of Brotherly Love. Tonight will finish Rhody’s stretch of three straight games against Philadelphia teams, with the final two coming on the road. Although the Rams have been eliminated for Atlantic 10 Tournament play, there’s still things to look for over the final two games. The play of the younger players will be in focus, and we’ll also keep an eye on the seniors as they finish up their URI careers. And wins, however meaningless they may be, are always nice. Here’s a look at tonight’s opponent:
Saint Joseph’s University
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Conference: Atlantic 10
2012-13 Record: 16-11 (7-7)
It seems like an eternity ago, but St. Joe’s was actually picked to finish first in the Atlantic 10 in the preseason polls. My, how times have changed. The Hawks sit in 8th place in the conference, and Phil Martelli’s squad is nowhere near the caliber of teams like St. Louis, Butler, or VCU. St. Joseph’s has recorded a few big wins, including victories over Notre Dame, Xavier, and Temple. However, the Hawks have also lost to teams like Fairfield, St. Bonaventure, and Dayton, so suffice it to say it’s been an up-and-down season for St. Joe’s. They’ll come into tonight’s game hot following a 82-56 waxing of Fordham at home.
Projected Starting Lineups
G: Mike Powell, So, #1, 5’11″, 175
G: Xavier Munford, Jr, #5, 6’2″, 180
G: Andre Malone, Sr, #12, 6’6″, 210
F: Nikola Malesevic, Sr, #23, 6’7″, 200
C: Jordan Hare, Fr, #4, 6’10″, 205
G: Carl Jones, Sr, #35, 5’11″, 160
G: Langston Galloway, Jr, #10, 6’2″, 200
F: Ronald Roberts Jr., Jr, #13, 6’8″, 220
F: Halil Kanacevic, Jr, #21, 6’8″, 256
C: C.J. Aiken, Jr, #1, 6’9″, 201
First, we must note that C.J. Aiken may not play tonight. He missed the Fordham game due to both back and wrist injuries, and he’s questionable to play tonight. If he does sit, 6’6″ junior Daryus Quarles will likely start in his place.
Either way, the Hawks bring some size to the table, starting two players (Roberts, Jr. and Kanacevic) that are 6’8″. If Aiken does play, that would make it three guys 6’8″ or taller. Roberts, Jr. leads St. Joe’s in rebounding with an average of 8.4 per game. He has posted a team-high 12 double-doubles this season, all while shooting 54 percent from the field. Kanacevic is equally impressive, with averages of 9.0 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 3.5 assists. His rebound and assist totals are both good for second on the team, and a big man that can dish out that many dimes is scary. The Rams will have their hands full as they try to control these two forwards.
Rhody will have to do a lot of things well to win their final road game of the season. Their shooting, rebounding, and free throws will all need to be efficient to beat a tough St. Joseph’s team. Can they finally put all three of those things together with two games left in the season? If there was ever a time for things to start clicking, it would be tonight.