A quick glance at the Atlantic 10 schedule back in October likely had some Rhode Island Rams fans circling several winnable games. Fast forward to now… and nothing looks to be a lock. URI has another tough test tomorrow night as they get set to take on the 12-5 (2-1) Saint Joseph’s Hawks in Philadelphia. Phil Martelli’s group has been playing some tough ball as of late, but Rhody can snag their first A-10 road win if they bring their A game. Here’s what it will take.
1. Defense Defense Defense
The Hawks don’t exactly light up the scoreboard (74.2 points per game), but they run an incredibly efficient offense. Their field goal percentage ranks 34th in the country, and they share the ball very well. Not only will the Rams have to make the most of their offensive possessions, but they’ll have to limit Saint Joe’s when they have the ball in order to pick up the win.
2. Munford Madness
So Xavier Munford takes a lot of shots. Which is completely fine when he has a day like he had against George Mason. X connected from all over the court en route to a season-high 28 points on Saturday, and he’ll need to turn in another big performance tomorrow night. As goes Munford, so goes Rhody.
3. The Galloway Factor
No matter which A-10 team that Rams face, they’re going to be dealing with a terrific player. Tomorrow’s poison goes by the name of Langston Galloway, and the senior is an absolute beast. The 6’2″ guard is averaging 17.9 points per game, and he’s carried the Hawks to more than one victory this season. Munford, T.J. Buchanan, and Biggie Minnis will certainly be tested on defense tomorrow, and they’ll have to limit Galloway’s effectiveness in order to win.
4. Force Some Turnovers
We mentioned the efficient Martelli offense, and ball control is a big part of it. Saint Joe’s can and will run into trouble if they can’t hang on to the rock, however. And although URI hasn’t been that great in the steal category, they’ll need to up their pressure to try and snag some points in transition.
5. Start Strong, Finish Strong
Ah yes, the two problem areas. Lately, the Rams have been finding themselves behind early and/or unable to close teams out late in the game. They got away with it against George Mason, but it won’t fly against some of the better squads in the conference. Fast starts, smart possessions, and free throws are all pieces of the puzzle, and Rhody will need it all to fall in line eventually. Why not tomorrow?
Why not is right. Can Rhode Island pick up a big A-10 win against the Hawks as they try to climb back in to the conference picture? Or are they doomed against a tough team on the road? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!