The Rhode Island Rams closed out the 2013-14 regular season on a positive note tonight with a 77-65 win over Fordham. The Senior Night victory was huge for a number of reasons, including avoiding the play-in game in the Atlantic 10 Tournament next week. Rhody also had a nice send-off for seniors Xavier Munford, A.J. Kemp, and Jonathan Nazarko, and all three players saw action in the game. URI closes out the regular season with a 14-17 mark, including 5-11 in A-10 play.
Rhody looked a little lackluster in the first half, but they were able to hang close with Fordham. Only T.J. Buchanan and Hassan Martin were noticeable in the first 20 minutes as the back-and-forth half ended with the Bronx Rams on top 33-31. Dan Hurley was less than pleased as he completely shattered his clipboard on the way to the locker room.
The players took notice. URI put together a 13-2 run midway through the second half – capped by a pair of Xavier Munford three-pointers – to jump on top 65-51 and it was cruise control from there. The Kingston Rams got several huge performances on the night, led by Munford’s 21 points. X shot 7-14 from the floor (including 4-7 from three) and added seven boards and four dimes to his stat sheet. E.C. Matthews thought 21 points, seven rebounds and four assists was so cool, he decided to do the same. Talk about paying tribute to the senior.
But aside from the seniors, the story of the night was T.J. Buchanan. He turned in an absolute monster performance, scoring 14 points and snagging 11 boards… both career highs. The junior also added seven assists as he flirted with a triple-double. And he wasn’t the only one: Hassan Martin racked up 13 points, 12 boards, and six blocked shots. It was an all-around great night for Rhode Island.
With three wins in their last four games, Rhody now heads into the A-10 Tournament as one of the hotter teams in the league. Their seed, opponent, and game-time has yet to be determined, but we’ll have all of that as soon as it becomes available. We’ll also have a few more tidbits on tonight’s game coming up tomorrow.