The University of Rhode Island men’s basketball team picked up their fourth consecutive win against the George Washington Colonials on Saturday afternoon, 59-55.
The win improves their overall record to 15-5 and conference standing to 7-2 for just the sixth time in program history.
Freshman guard Jared Terrell led the team in scoring for the third-straight time with 17 points, including seven of the team’s nine points in a crucial stretch of the contest late in the second half. He also had six steals and went 7-for-7 from the free throw line.
His performance over the last week earned him Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week as well as the CBS Sports and Wayman Tisdale NCAA Freshman of the Week honors.
“To be where we’re at with such a young group in a tough league, and be halfway through it at 7-2, I couldn’t be prouder of the effort and the way we’re doing it,” Rhode Island head coach Dan Hurley said in his weekly A-10 teleconference. “We’re having to do it with grit and toughness and having to win close games late.”
URI shot a season-best 90.9 percent from the charity stripe with 20-for-22 shooting. Following the team’s 11-for-27 performance at Fordham last Wednesday, Coach Hurley said that even he was surprised that the team shot so well, and that things found a way of evening themselves out after the season’s worst shooting performance in the previous game.
Sophomore Hassan Martin added 15 points and 10 rebounds of his own, as well as three blocks, which moved him into fourth all-time in blocks for Rhode Island. 52 games into his young career, Martin has accumulated 144 blocks, averaging nearly 2.8 per game.
With fellow sophomore E.C. Matthews just a couple games back from a foot injury that kept him sidelined against St. Bonaventure last week, the team’s leading scorer was limited to 10 points, though he did add four assists. Senior T.J. Buchanan led the bench in points with six crucial free throws in the final minute to seal a Rhode Island victory.
Though the team had its fair share of problems scoring from the field against the Colonials, the Rams’ suffocating defense led the team to a win once again. Saturday was the sixth time this year that URI held an opponent to 20 points or less in a half, and the 13th time that an opponent failed to score more than 60 points in regulation. Rhode Island is ranked 14th nationally and 1st in the A-10 in scoring defense.
“There’s still some more pieces that we’ve got to bring into this equation for us, but we understood going into this year that if we were going to have any success, relative to the way it’s been around here, that we were going to have to do it as a great defensive team,” Hurley said.
URI is currently tied with Dayton for second in Atlantic 10 standings, just half a game behind Virginia Commonwealth. Â VCU fell to Rhode Island’s next opponent, Richmond, this past Saturday.
The Rams will play at the Spiders on Sunday for the first matchup of a two-game road trip.