The Rhode Island Rams dropped their third-straight game (and their second-straight heart breaker) Sunday afternoon, falling to the Detroit Titans 70-68. In what looked to be a very winnable game (both before and after), Rhody struggled both on defense and at the free-throw line as they saw an eight-point second half lead slip away. The Rams had a chance at the end, but a Biggie Minnis floater rimmed out. It leaves URI at 6-5 heading into a two-week break, and with the taste of a few close losses still in their mouths. Let’s take a look at what went down against the Titans.
First, the Rams got several contributions on offense. Xavier Munford led the way with a game-high 22 points, shooting 9-18 from the field and 3-9 from three. The downside is that Munford only got to the free-throw line once, making the 22 points on 18 shots look good, but not great. Gilvydas Biruta also tacked on 14 points and 10 rebounds in his first double-double of the season, and E.C. Matthews chipped in with 12 points despite an off-day shooting the ball (4-13). As a team, Rhody shot 47 percent from the field for the game. Combine those offensive numbers with the kind of defense URI is capable of playing as that should spell a win more often than not. Unfortunately, the D wasn’t there on Sunday.
Rhode Island allowed an inexcusable 22 points on the fast break, as their ability to get back and play defense was lacking all day. 14 turnovers didn’t help much either, but only five of the miscues came in the second half when Detroit make their run. The Titans also racked up a ridiculous 46 points in the paint, including 16 second-chance points. The Rams actually out-rebounded the home team, but Detroit controlled the glass in the second half, keying their comeback.
Also, FREE THROWS. URI didn’t hit ‘em. The Titans did… at least in the second half. Rhody shot a dismal 4-11 (36 percent!) from the line in the final 20 minutes and just 8-19 (42 percent) overall. Meanwhile, Detroit buried 13-15 freebies (87 percent) in the second half. There’s your game right there. The Rams need to convert from the line or there are going to be a lot of these five-ish point losses as the season goes on. Sunday marked the second-straight game where FT shooting can be pointed to as a direct contributor to a URI loss. It’s quite frustrating for players, coaches, and fans alike.
With that, Rhode Island now heads into a break for mid-term exams. Rest assured, the break will only be from game action; there’s no doubt Dan Hurley will be working hard in practice to improve the team. The Rams will take on New Hampshire at the Ryan Center coming up on December 22nd.