The University of Rhode Island men’s basketball team packed their bags and headed to Reno, Nevada to battle the University of Nevada in a nonconference matchup on Monday night. The Rams fell to the Wolf Pack 88-81. Sam Murray breaks down the key takeaways from the contest.
Defensively the Paint is More Open Than a 7/11
A fear that many fans had seems to have come true, as this Rhode Island frontcourt really misses Hassan Martin and Kuran Iverson. Together the two combined for 14.1 rebounds, 3.4 blocks and struck fear in the eyes of anyone who attempted to drive in the paint. Monday was a different story, and the Wolf Pack were able to grab 38 points in the paint and were able to shoot 66 percent in front of the arc. Lindsey Drew had no problems driving to the hoop, while Jordan Caroline dominated under the glass shooting seven of 12. Assistant coach Tom Moore has his work cut out with the front court, who still has the veteran likes of Cyril Langevine, Andre Berry and Nicola Akele who have shown in the past they can provide valuable minutes.
Rhode Island is Singing the Foul Trouble Blues
Forty-four free throws were attempted by the Wolf Pack. No, that is not a typo. They were able to convert 36 of them as Rhode Island could not control their aggressiveness and ended up with 28 fouls. Three players, starters Langevine and Jared Terrell and sixth man Stanford Robinson, each fouled out, with Langevine fouling out in his second consecutive game. Time after time it seemed Rhode Island would foul a player before even crossing half court, which resulted in the Wolf Pack walking to the other end of the court for free throws. Part of Dan Hurley’s defensive game plan is to attack the ball-handler aggressively to force turnovers, but the Rams have to dial it back and play smarter basketball to limit the fouls.
Jared Terrell Needs to Get More Involved in the Offense
Terrell was the best player for the Rams on offense and defense on Monday. He finished with 24 points, including 14 of the team’s first 34 points in the second half, while shooting 50 percent from the field and beyond the arc. He was also the only Ram to make more than two free throws. When he fouled out in the final minutes the game was essentially over. Terrell was quiet against UNC Asheville last Friday, finishing with only six points on three of eight from the field, but he cranked it up against the Wolf Pack. If the Rams want to have any success going down to the line, Terrell has to be a big focal piece of this offense.
Rhode Island Has Put Up 80 Points in Back-to-Back Games
Now that I have picked apart the Rams, let’s look at the positive. The Rams accomplished something they had not done in 21 games on Monday, put up 80 points in back-to-back games. The two opponents were St. Louis on Dec. 30 and Saint Joseph’s on Jan. 3, two of the bottom dwelling teams in the Atlantic-10 conference last year. UNC Asheville and Nevada are projected to win their respective conferences this year. Nevada played a ball-attack defense where they would immediately swarm the ball-handler with a double team, trapping and putting pressure on them to throw the ball away or lose control of it. The fact is that they were able to put up 81 points on them is impressive considering the Rams rarely have faced a style of defense like that of the Wolf Pack.