The Rhode Island Rams suffered a tough 50-49 loss to the Providence Friars last night in a game that really could have been won by either team. Many fans feared the worst coming into this one, but Rhody more than held their own against a tough and experienced PC team. And let’s face it – if you thought the rivalry was gone… it isn’t. Both teams played with a lot of passion and energy, resulting in another awesome annual showdown. Let’s dive right into it.
It’s hard to imagine a more even battle than what we saw last night. Just take a look at some of these numbers:
The “game could have gone either way” mantra is a tired cliché, especially coming from the losing team, but it most certainly applies here. The Rams also played 40 solid minutes of basketball last night, for perhaps the first time all season. If they can get that kind of effort to carry over to the next game and beyond, they’re going to become a real force this season.
Gilvydas Biruta also appears to be transforming into the player that Rhody was expecting this season. He dropped in a team-high 13 points last night to go along with seven boards and a pair of blocked shots. Hassan Martin also had a bit of a breakout game with four points, five rebounds and a game-high four blocked shots. The stat sheet doesn’t say it all, either. The intensity that the freshman brought to the table was amazing. He’s had his freshman hiccups for sure, but there’s no doubt that he’ll be something special in Kingston when it’s all said and done.
On the negative side, URI was really burned by their free-throw shooting. 50 percent (6-12) hurts, especially in a one-point loss. As do the missed layups, although it’s hard to fault those as much simply due to the fact that the Friars have several guys who can alter shots.
The only real thing to be upset about last night was the game result. Rhody played hard, smart, and tough top to bottom. Can’t ask for much more than that.