The University of Rhode Island Rams defeated the University of Massachusetts – Lowell River Hawks 72-56 at the Thomas M. Ryan Center on Sunday afternoon to improve to 2-0 on the season.
The Rams got on the board first when senior forward Gilvydas Biruta was assisted by sophomore guard E.C. Matthews and hit a layup. After the River Hawks tied the game at two points apiece, the Rams went on a 17-5 scoring run. Freshman guard Jared Terrell led the Rams to the scoring run early in the game, spurred by his three-pointer that put Rhode Island ahead 5-2.
“I’m happy to get a win and felt really good about our first half defense,” Rhode Island head coach Dan Hurley said. “I thought our younger guys played well.”
The Rams raced out to a 29-23 halftime advantage and were led by strong overall shooting. Rhode Island shot 51 percent and went 14-for-27 from the floor in the first half, but only made one of its eight 3-point attempts in the first twenty minutes.
Sophomore Hassan Martin, Biruta and junior Jarelle Reischel scored double figures for the Rams as they had an impressive offensive showing for the second consecutive game of the season. Martin led the Rams with 18 points to go along with eight total rebounds in 23 minutes on the court.
Rhode Island’s defense limited the River Hawks to 22.7 percent shooting from the court in the first half and forced five turnovers. The Rams also held them to eight points in the paint and 15 points off of the bench in the first 20 minutes as well. The squad once again faltered from the charity stripe after going 8-for-17 on Sunday.
“We should never be minus-13 at the free-throw line, especially against an opponent that isn’t as physically imposing,” Hurley said. “Embarrassing is not the right word.”
The Rams have four days to prepare to face no. 21 University of Nebraska when they play at the Ryan Center Saturday night. Rhode Island has not beaten a nationally ranked team since December 1998.
“We’re really excited for [Nebraska] and hopefully we can get a good crowd to play behind our guys,” Hurley said. “They’re a veteran group and they’re physical, mature, and tough. How can you be anything but excited for the game?”