Cyril Langevine has been cleaning up messes in the paint throughout his four years in Kingston. Against Duquesne, the senior helped swing an ugly first half to an in-the-end comfortable 77-55 win.
Trailing by eight points at the break, URI was losing the battle inside. For a team that averages more rebounds than their opponents, the Dukes were leading 25-15 in that department. Langevine only playing 2:30 in the frame due to foul trouble left the Rams without their interior beast.
His return after intermission gave Rhody the spark they needed. URI went on a 16-1 run to open the second half, capped off by a fast-break three from Fatts Russell. The sequence also featured a steal and slam for the point guard, who finished with four steals and a game-high 23 points. Langevine was all over the stat sheet during the run, and his head coach lauded his impact postgame.
“He’s a warrior,” said Head Coach David Cox. “Just his presence alone made me feel better even though he didn’t get much done first half with the foul trouble. Second half his presence, particularly defensively, was key.”
The senior played all 20 minutes in the second half even though he missed the last three days of practice with an ankle injury.
While sitting with the two fouls, Langevine made sure to stay engaged in the game. He was constantly calling out defensive rotations from the bench and communicating with teammates. The foul trouble did not impact the team captain’s ability to lead the Rams.
“A couple years ago if I picked up two fouls I would have gotten down on myself, but it all comes with maturity,” he said. “Every moment in the huddle I just said, ‘Guys, you just gotta have fun with this because you never know what could happen.’ You just gotta have fun, right mindset, and everything will go your way.”
Overall, the Rams outscored their opponents 47-17 in the second half, leaving a previously undefeated team in conference play with their first loss on the year. URI took command of the paint with a 28-4 points advantage in that area. The defense also flipped the script, causing nine turnovers that led to 14 points. They also limited their opponents to just two second chance points, putting in an all-around display that Cox was proud of.
“To hold this team to 17 points in the second half, that was all them,” he said. “I wasn’t out there guarding anybody, that was all them.”
The contrast between the last two games against Duquesne could not be greater for the Rams. In this matchup last season, URI blew a 19-point halftime lead against the Dukes, a moment the team has referenced many times since. Jeff Dowtin noted that it was a “personal game” for the entire team. To see the maturity his team displayed was not lost on Cox.
“Going into the half with an eight point deficit, an immature team could have lost that game by 20,” he said. “They came out with the right mindset.”
Duquesne was led by Forward Marcus Weathers, who put up 20 points and 7 rebounds. The big man fouled out of the game with 5:13 left, all but ending the Dukes potential comeback. No other player for the visitors scored more than six.
The win for URI put them in a tie for second place in the conference behind Dayton, who have yet to drop a game so far in conference play. Duquesne, who entered the game 15-2 but with the benefit of an easy schedule, fell to 5-1 in the Atlantic 10.
Rhody will take their season-high five game winning streak on the road to the Reilly Center where they’ll play St. Bonaventure. Tip-off is set for 3 p.m. on Saturday.