The exhibition is in the books. And from here on, they count. The Rhode Island Rams defeated the Division-II Southern Connecticut State Owls 93-77 last night at the Ryan Center. The Owls certainly provided a good test as Rhody tuned up for next week’s home opener against Maine. It wasn’t a perfect game for URI by any means, but there’s plenty of things to be excited about as the season draws closer. Let’s check it out.
First, the starting lineup, which we neglected to mention last night. KMac has it covered:
URI starting lineup for So. Conn: Munford, Powell, Biruta, Reischel, Onyekaba
— Kevin McNamara (@KevinMcNamara33) November 1, 2013
Looks pretty good to us. Munford and Biruta were locks and Powell was a favorite to earn the nod at point guard. The other two spots were up in the air, which means Reischel and Onyekaba earned them. Expect to see the same five against Maine on Friday.
Another concern before last night was how the front court would manage without Jordan Hare. Granted that this was against an undersized team, but chalk this one up to a success. Both Hassan Martin and Gilvydas Biruta had monster games as the Rams tallied 61 rebounds on the evening. As for Rhody’s other freshman, Dan Hurley said that E.C. Matthews was dealing with some early jitters last night. He did get stronger as the game went on, however, finishing with 13 points for the game.
As for the concerns, Hurley summed them up pretty succinctly:
“I was really disappointed with our guard defense tonight. We practice too hard, we work too hard for that in practice.”
Rhody allowed CSCU star guard Greg Langston to drop a game-high 21 points on 7-16 shooting. Hurley’s squad also gave up 42-fist half points to a Division-II team… that one kind of speaks for itself. Another recurring problem, not just with the Rams but seemingly with college hoops in general, is fouls. There were 56 fouls and 71 free throws attempted in Kingston last night, and things got so bad that Hurley had to speak out. ProJo has the scoop:
“Right now, I don’t know what a foul is on the perimeter. I just don’t know,” he said. “Going into the season, it’s scary because you just don’t know what a foul is.”
Yikes. It’s safe to chalk the game up to a learning experience more than anything else. Things get a lot more real on Friday night.