Wake up call.
There are certainly a lot of other ways to describe tonight’s game between Rhode Island and SMU, but we’ll go with that one. The Rams got absolutely steamrolled by the Mustangs in Garland, Texas tonight, falling 89-58. If you’re looking for something that went right for URI this evening… good luck. But it’s just one game early in the season, and Rhody can certainly learn a lot from it. In the meantime, the Rams now drop to 1-1 on the season as they head home to regroup following tonight’s beat-down.
This one actually looked like it was going to be a close game early on. Rhode Island and SMU exchanged buckets, turnovers, and some sloppy play through the first fifteen minutes as both teams tried to bust out of their funk. Unfortunately for URI, they never did. The Mustangs certainly turned it on, however. Clinging to a 24-20 lead with 4:37 remaining in the first half, Larry Brown’s squad ran off a 14-4 run to close out the half as they opened up a 13-point lead at the break.
The second half saw SMU pick up right where they left off, hitting their first nine field goal attempts and putting the game out of reach very early. The Rams couldn’t even muster much of a threat in the final 20 minutes, as they struggled with turnovers, defense, offense… you name it. Rhody coughed the ball up twenty times on the evening, and a majority of them were unforced errors. URI also shot just 31 percent from the field and 13 percent (2-15) from outside the arc. Both of their made three-pointers came from Matthew Butler when garbage time was well underway.
Conversely, Rhode Island allowed SMU to shoot 55 percent from the field and 46 percent from three. If they didn’t shoot a dismal 46 percent (11-24) from the foul line, the Mustangs could have easily touched the 100-point mark. The lone bright spot for Rhody was freshman E.C. Matthews, who racked up 15 points on 5-12 shooting. He was the only Ram in double-figures. For Southern Methodist, star point guard Nic Moore went off against a less-than-spectacular URI defense, pouring in 20 points on 7-9 shooting. He also dished out seven assists.
To say tonight didn’t go as planned would be an understatement. The Rams didn’t play well, they didn’t coach well, and they learned that not every game is going to be as easy as it was against Maine. Wake up call. Let’s hope that’s all it is.