The story line coming into last night’s game was simple. St. Joseph’s Hawks were playing for a spot in the Atlantic 10 Tournament, while the Rhode Island Rams had nothing to play for. And that’s exactly what it looked like. Rhody got absolutely stomped by St. Joe’s in an 81-44 debacle at Hagan Arena yesterday, handing the Rams their second straight 20-loss season. There aren’t many positives to take from this one; URI allowed their second most points of the season, scored their second fewest, and suffered their largest margin of defeat on the year. Yes it was disastrous, but this game should only be viewed as a short-term hiccup, however painful it may be. Let’s see what else we can take away from it:
Three Things to Feel Good About
1. Accountability – Presented without comment:
“They played like the best team in the league and we played like a bad high school team. We played like a team that had nothing left to play for, which is a reflection of our coaches doing a very bad job, of me doing a bad job, of mentally preparing our team once we’ve been eliminated from the conference tournament.” – Dan Hurley
Apologies to our fans and everyone associated with the University for tonight. My responsibility to fix this program.
— Dan Hurley (@dhurley15) March 7, 2013
2. Free Throws – Coming off two games in which free throws cost them dearly, Rhody only missed two from the charity stripe. The 7-9 performance was split up amongst only four players – Andre Malone, Mike Aaman, and Nikola Malesevic each made a pair from the line.
3. Eric Youncofski – Call this a facetious pick if you must, but it was nice to see Youncofski score his first points of his college career. Despite going 0-2 from the field (both attempts were three-pointers), the freshman hit 1-2 free throws to finish up with a point in four minutes. He is the first walk-on to score for the Rams this season.
Three Things to Be Concerned About
1. Defense – Well, this one should be obvious. The Hawks shot 52.9 percent from the floor and 35.7 from three en route to 81 points. It was the most points the Rams have given up since UMass also dropped 81 on them exactly one month earlier. 11 St. Joe’s players found themselves in the point column on the stat sheet as URI couldn’t really stop anyone. Four Hawks scored in double figures.
2. Outside Shooting – “Consistency” is an overused term, but it really applies when talking about Rhody’s outside shooting. Their three-point shooting differed by an insane 45 percentage points from the Temple game to this one, as they hit just one of 20 from the beyond the arc. Nine Rams attempted three pointers, and only Xavier Munford was able to drain one.
3. Mike Powell – Hit assist-to-turnover ratio continues to be stellar, but Powell hasn’t been putting up the points that Rhody fans know he can. MP posted his second scoreless effort in the last three games, going 0-5 from the field and 0-2 from three. It should also be noted that he played a season-low 26 minutes in this one, mostly because the outcome of the game was decided quite early.
With the loss, URI finishes the season with a 3-9 record on the road, including 2-8 in Atlantic 10 play. They also tallied a combined 3-11 record in games away from the Ryan Center. The Rams will finish off what has been a very trying season on Saturday when they get another crack at UMass. Stick with us as we preview the final game of the year coming up tomorrow.