Autumn Walter|CIGAR| E.C. Matthews scored six points at the Davidson game.
Mid-right: In the first half of the Tuesday night game, Mathews was injured in a collision with Richmond’s no. 33.
What was just another night in the Ryan Center turned into complete panic and silence when E.C Matthews went down with a left-knee injury 19 minutes into Tuesday night’s matchup against the Richmond Spiders.
Rhode Island head coach Dan Hurley would announce on Wednesday afternoon that Matthews suffered a bruised left knee and is considered day-to-day.
“We need to be careful with E.C.,” Hurley said on Wednesday afternoon. He’s got a long career ahead of him. There’s hopefully a lot of season ahead for us, too. With any of our players we try to take great care of them and with E.C. we will handle him with care.”
Receiving a fast break pass, Matthews bobbled the ball and went to pick it up as he lost control of it near his feet. Richmond’s Grant Golden dove for the ball and into Matthews, driving his body into Matthews’ left knee. Matthews would fall to the ground buckling in pain as trainers and Hurley ran over to tend to him. Matthews would be helped off court and headed into the locker room, ruled out for the remainder of the game. Matthews had previously torn his right ACL ten minutes into the 2015-16 Rams’ season opener against American University, where he would miss the rest of the season.
“[It was] scary, hard to watch,” Hurley said after Tuesday night’s game regarding Matthews’ injury. “It jolted all of us because of everything that guy has been through.”
Despite the loss of Matthews, the No. 16/14 ranked team in the country kept on rolling, as they handedly took care of the Spiders 85-67 on Tuesday night. Rhode Island is coming off back-to-back home victories after Tuesday’s win. The Rams secured a 72-59 victory over the Davidson Wildcats on Friday night.
The Rams have now scored 80-plus points in 13 games this season, the most in a season since Hurley received the deed to the program.
On Tuesday, Jared Terrell put on a show in the absence of his partner-in-crime, finishing with 17 points, while Cyril Langevine continued his recent tear and finished with 15 points and six rebounds coming off the bench. Fatts Russell was a spark plug off the bench scoring 12 of his 14 points in the second half.
In both Tuesday’s and Friday’s victory the Rams’ bench notched 41 points. On Saturday the Rams had three bench players in double figures. Russell had 10; Langevine added 14 and Jarvis Garrett had 17.
With Matthews listed as day-to-day in is uncertain if he will play in the Rams next game on Friday night at St. Bonaventure. When Matthews last went down in 2015-16, the team limped their way to a 17-15 record and was upset by UMass in the second round of the Atlantic 10 tournament. Hurley did not express concern on Tuesday night over what might happen this season should Matthews’ injury cause him to miss time.
“Back then we were so young, and when E.C. went down we weren’t as deep,” Hurley said. “We’ve been in tough spots [this year], we played a portion of the non-conference schedule without E.C. We’ve played this year without him and have been successful and played well.”
With the win over the Spiders, the Rams extended their winning streak to 16 games, tying the Cincinnati Bearcats for the nation’s longest winning streak and the program’s longest single-season streak since 1939-40. Hurley brushed off the streak, saying that they enjoy the success and attention but ultimately their focus is always on the next game at hand.
“We don’t talk much about the streak,” Hurley said. “We do talk about legacy a lot, and as a team with this senior group that deserves to leave an amazing legacy, and they’re doing it as we speak. But our next game mentality has served us well.”
Rhode Island’s focus now shifts to Friday night when they head to St. Bonaventure to battles the Bonnies. URI won the first meeting of the year on Jan. 13, 87-73. St. Bonaventure seems to be a different team from the one Rhode Island met earlier this season. After starting off A-10 play 2-4, the Bonnies have won seven straight games.
In the previous meeting with the Rams and the Bonnies, Matthews led the way with 20 points and nine rebounds. URI had five Rams in double figures that game.
Bottom right: During URI’s whiteout game, Jarvis Garret played an intricate role in achieving the team’s 16th win in a row.
Bottom left: Jarred Terrell steps up to lead team once again after Matthews is injured.