The University of Rhode Island Rams suffered a heartbreaking loss to the University of Massachusetts Minutemen, 61-56 in overtime, at the Mullins Center in Amherst last night.
“We’ve had a lot of losses like this, particularly on the road, and in both of our huddles, there was a little bit of here we go again,” head coach Dan Hurley said. “I thought our guys fought really, really hard. Guys showed tremendous resiliency and character and fight, and gave us a chance to win the game.”
The undermanned Rams were without sophomore guard and one of their best scorers in Jarvis Garrett and junior forward and leading rebounder, Kuran Iverson.
“We were obviously limited today, we did the best that we could of running parts of what we did the whole year,” Hurley said. “We were missing some people, so some other guys had to shoot the ball.”
Freshman guard Christian Thompson and Four McGlynn were asked to carry a big share of the shooting duties, but failed to find their rhythm, going just 5-for-28 from the field. There were some bright spots and personal bests, however. Thompson had a career-high eight boards along with six points, and two assists in his first collegiate start. Senior center Earl Watson had a career-high 14 rebounds, and McGlynn surpassed 1,400 points for his career after tallying 13 points. Hassan Martin recorded his 19th career game with five or more blocked shots and also totaled eight points and seven rebounds.
Throughout the first ten-and-a-half minutes of the game, Rhody’s defense limited Umass to one field goal. Rhody’s defense also held UMass to just 35 percent shooting from the floor. The Rams and Minutemen each committed 15 turnovers, but URI’s proved more costly.
“We turned the ball over the first three possessions of overtime in ways that were just bizarre,” Hurley said.
After sophomore guard Jared Terrell scored eight of the Rams’ first 10 points, they raced to a 14-4 lead about midway through the first half. Terrell finished 7-for-15 from the court and 8-of-11 from the charity stripe for a game-high 23 points on the night.
However, the pendulum of momentum swung in favor of the Minutemen after they responded with a 13-2 run, and raced to halftime with a 30-23 lead on a 26-9 run.
“Their largest lead was 10 in the second half and we felt it could get away from us and we were demoralized,” Hurley said.
The Rams battled back and erased a 10-point deficit and had a one-point lead after a clutch, and on this night, rare three-pointer Mcglynn with ten seconds left on the clock. Despite the opportune reversal of fortunes, a potential win slipped through their grasp after a foul sent Trey Davis to the free throw line. He missed the front end of a one-and-one, but URI failed to secure the rebound, as the ball went out of bounds and was awarded back to UMass. Davis got fouled again and missed again, before finally tying the game and sending it to overtime with second made free throw.
“Up one with six seconds left, we’ve got to get that defensive rebound on the free throw, if we do, we probably are getting on the bus with a win,” Hurley said. Â
“[I’m] Disappointed in the loss but certainly proud of what we did today with the group we had I thought they played really, really hard and fought hard,” Hurley said.
Rhode Island will travel to face La Salle on Saturday night at the Tom Gola Arena to conclude their regular season series. The Rams defeated La Salle 73-62 in their first meeting on Jan. 16 at the Ryan Center.