The Rhode Island Rams had a second-half comeback attempt fall short yesterday as they fell 77-64 to the Southern Miss Golden Eagles. Rhody trailed by as many as 12 in the second half before pulling to within two, but that would be as close as they would get as URI was held to just one basket in the final 5:15. The loss drops the Rams to 7-6 with just two non-conference games left on their schedule. Rhody played fairly well yesterday, but certainly not well enough to win. Here’s what we can take away from the loss.
In terms of positives, it starts with Hassan Martin. The freshman dropped just four points, but he made an impact on defense and on the glass. Martin snagged four rebounds and blocked four shots in 28 minutes of play off the bench, and he’s quickly establishing himself as one of the best shot-blockers in the A-10. After the game, Dan Hurley said he sees “what [Martin is] going to do once his offense catches up. He changed the game.” Could Martin find himself in the starting lineup soon?
The downsides from yesterday’s game saw more of the same issue crop up… but a few new ones as well. Per usual, Rhody struggled from the free-throw line. They missed 11 shots en route to shooting just 61 percent from the stripe. And while URI was able to hang close in the first half thanks to only three turnovers, they wheels came off in the final 20 minutes. The Rams coughed up the ball nine times in the second half, including three times in the first 3:20, which allowed the Golden Eagles to rattle off an 8-0 run.
Outside of Hassan Martin, Rhode Island really struggled in the paint. The Rams were out-rebounded 37-22 on the afternoon and were outscored 42-18 in the paint. Southern Miss’ success inside was evident by their 51 percent success rate from the field. URI also had their usual struggles with foul trouble, with Ifeanyi Onyekaba playing just 13 minutes and Jarelle Reischel 11.
If yesterday’s loss wasn’t tough enough, Rhody will now play four of their next five games on the road. First up is a trip up route 95 to play Brown on Thursday night. Opening tip is set for 7:00 p.m.