The No. 21/22 University of Rhode Island men’s basketball team continued to roll in the early goings, beating Marist College 107-65 Monday night at the Ryan Center.
The Rams won their opener on Friday night over Dartmouth College, while the Red Foxes dropped their first game of the season on Friday night versus the Duke Blue Devils. Following the victory over Dartmouth, the Rams moved up two spots in the AP Top 25 poll from No. 23 in the country to No. 21.
The matchup with the Red Foxes was a part of the Mohegan Sun Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament, the bulk of which will be played at Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut this weekend. However, the tournament plays on-campus games prior to the games at Mohegan Sun.
The first three minutes of the game were very slow for Rhode Island as the Rams did not score their first field goal until 16:52 when junior guard Jared Terrell hit a lay-up. The basket would awaken URI from its slumber and spark a 14-0 run for Rhode Island. With 14:40 left in the first half, the Rams had the edge over the Red Foxes, 18-7 and it was all Rhode Island from there.
Rhode Island head coach Dan Hurley was impressed with his team’s defensive game, except for some early sloppiness.
“Minus the slow and sluggish defensive start, I thought that we really dug in and guarded,” Hurley said.
The defense got better as the game went on, but the offense was excellent from the moment the Rams put together their 14-0 run early in the first. URI had five players reach double-figures in points. Garrett, despite being the only starter to not score at least 14 points, had a full stat line with nine points, eight assists and three rebounds.
The Rams fifth player with double-figures was Indiana transfer Stanford Robinson, who had 14 points, three rebounds, three assists and three steals.
“Stan is at a different mindset as a player now, than he was in his prior experience in college,” Hurley said. “He is playing with a lot more confidence and freedom.”
Robinson is part of the deep bench that the Rams expect to boast this year. Players like Christion Thompson, and Nicola Akele also give Hurley an array of weapons to use this season. The key to the bench, and the rest of the team for that matter is the 3-point shooting. The bench against Marist shot 5-of-7 from deep, and as a team the Rams shot 12-of-21.
Hurley was very impressed with his bench’s defensive performance as well. “It is a great feeling to know that you’ve got a unit coming in that is either going to take it to another level of defense or get your defense to the level that you want them to be at,” Hurley said.
This game was one of the best offensive performances that Rhode Island has seen in the last decade. The last time the Rams scored over 100 points in a game was in February of 2010 when they took down Fordham University 101-75. Rhode Island’s 107 point performance is also a Ryan Center record for points scored in the building.
“We played at a pretty high level tonight,” Hurley said following the win. “Offensively we played at the pace we want to play at in terms of getting quicker, better shots and getting the ball down the floor quicker.”
Rhode Island moves to 2-0 on the season and played in-state rival Brown University last night (results in too late) and now prepare for the most anticipated slate of games on their schedule, with a game against No. 24/25 Cincinnati in Mohegan Sun on Saturday, and a potential meeting with the No. 1 Duke Blue Devils (lost on Monday) possibly awaiting them Sunday.