This season has seen several frustrating losses for the Rhode Island Rams, but tonight’s might take the cake. Rhody was close down the stretch, but some broken plays and poor execution led to a 70-67 loss to UMass at the Mullins Center. The Minutemen made plays when they needed to in the final minutes and URI did not. In fact, the Rams went the final 4:46 without a field goal – not counting a meaningless layup at the buzzer. It was another inspired fight for Rhody, but they came up just short once again.
The first fourteen minutes of the game was all Rhode Island. The Rams dominated on both ends of the floor, and capitalized on some poor UMass shooting. Rhody was up 22-13 with 6:32 remaining in the half and the team was pumped. But a 16-6 Minutemen run erased all of that as URI limped into the locker room down 31-30.
The second half saw Massachusetts blitz the Rams – and the game may very well have been lost in the first two minutes. UMass out-rebounded Rhody 4-0 in the first 1:50 as they ran off eight straight points to build a 39-30 lead. But, as has been the story all year, URI wouldn’t go quietly. The Rams scored 30 of the next 47 points to take a 60-56 lead with 4:46 to play. From then on, it was high stress for fans of both teams. Rhode Island and UMass traded buckets for the next three minutes, and it was a 64-64 ballgame with 1:52 to play.
A Derrick Gordon layup gave the Minutemen the lead, and E.C. Matthews connected on just one of two free throws to make it 66-65 with a minute left. Rhody got the stop they needed, but a traveling violation on Gilvydas Biruta turned things back over to Massachusetts. Chaz Williams made both free throws after a URI foul, but the Rams failed to execute on their final possession.
T.J. Buchanan passed up a wide open three from the corner in front of the Rhody bench, and Xavier Munford got a layup swatted away with three seconds to go and that sealed the ballgame. The Rams gave UMass another scare – the second time this season – but once again they fell just short. If you’re feeling irrational frustration, join the club. But for a more measured take, check this one out.
— Bill Koch (@BillKoch25) February 27, 2014
He’s 100 percent right. Let that tidbit sink in. The pieces are coming together – it just takes time. We’ll have much more on this one coming up tomorrow.