The Rhode Island Rams scored a decisive win over the New Hampshire Wildcats Sunday as they controlled things from the opening tip en route to a 62-45 victory. Rhody opened up a 20-point lead in the first 11:25 and put it into cruise control from there, moving to 7-5 on the season. URI also snapped their three-game losing streak as they improved to 6-1 at the Ryan Center. Let’s see what else we can take away from this one.
We should first point out that UNH is not good. In fact, a quick eye test indicated that they might be the worst team Rhode Island will face all season. Yes, worse than UMass Lowell, and certainly worse than D-II Metro State. That said, the Rams did what they needed to do, and got contributions up and down the board. Biruta, Minnis, Martin, Buchanan… a lot of guys came out of the two-week break with something to prove.
The Rams held New Hampshire to two first-half field goals and just 22 percent shooting and two assists overall. Is that because the Wildcats aren’t good at basketball? Partly. But this is what Rhody needs to do to teams like this.
The negatives, once again, start with free-throw shooting. URI shot 14-21 (67 percent) from the line, which is actually an improvement compared to where they’ve been recently. But it’s still not good enough. The Rams connected on their first nine attempts, but then managed to shoot 5-12 the rest of the way.
In addition, Xavier Munford continues to struggle with his shooting touch. He shot 3-9 from the field and 2-6 from downtown, and fans are starting to cringe when he tees up a jumper. It’s almost getting to the point where he needs to start taking higher percentage shots in order to get back into his groove. Leave the threes on the shelf for a bit.
Speaking of the shelf, that’s where Jarelle Reischel might find himself sooner rather than later. In 11 minutes, he shot 0-2, scored 0 points and fouled out. It’s no coincidence that he received the lowest grade in our mid-season report. It’s not clear what’s up with him, but his playing time may start getting reduced unless he can start contributing a little more.
Rhode Island now heads into Christmas with a win. But they’ll be back at it on Saturday when they take on the Southern Miss Golden Eagles at the Ryan Center. Game time is set for 2:00 p.m.