In a matchup a year in the making, where both teams came in looking to continue their impressive starts to the season, it was Providence which took home the spoils. The Friars defeated the Rams 66-52, thanks in large part to a dominant first half performance in the paint. The Rams dug themselves a pretty deep hole in the first half, according to Coach Cox, a hole which they simply couldn’t climb out of.

A First Half To Regret For Rhode Island

Prior to the game, the atmosphere inside the Dunkin Donuts Center in downtown Providence was electric. The sold out arena was filled to the brim with eager Providence fans who had been waiting for this matchup nearly two years. Much to their enthusiasm, the Friars came out of the blocks strong, draining three consecutive 3-pointers to shoot out to a 9 point lead. URI would start slowly on offense, slowly chipping away at the Friar’s lead, until they ultimately took the lead with 7:26 remaining in the 1st half, 18-17. This lead, however, would be short lived. Following a series of turnovers and miss shots, the Rams found themselves trailing 35-24 going into the break. Second chance points played a major role in the PC resurgence late in the first half, finishing the half with 15 total, compared to just 6 from the Rams. It was clear going into halftime that something needed to change for the Rams in the second half to prevent this matchup from slipping away.

A Second Half Comeback Comes Up Short

Coming out of the locker rooms, both URI and Providence traded points to start the 2nd half. PC at one point lead by as much as 17 points before the Rams started to pick up steam. Following some spurts of offensive brilliance from underclassmen duo Ishmael Leggett and Sebastian Thomas, the Rams were able to claw their way back to within 6 points of the high flying Friars, but, much to the dismay of the few Rhody fans in attendance, the Rams ran out of gas. The Friars, much like in the first half, capitalized late on multiple turnovers and missed field goals from the Rams, shooting back out to a 10+ point lead, a lead which they would hold onto for the remainder of the game. The Rams spirited come back ultimately came up short, with the final score finishing Providence-66, Rhode Island-52, a 14 point loss. Though the Rams had vastly improved their presence in the paint during the 2nd half, a 0% 3-point percentage and 26.7% from the free throw line hindered their comeback greatly.

Regroup And Bounce Back

A loss to PC will always hurt, but the Rams need to pick themselves up and keep pushing forward. The guys showed glimpses of brilliance today both offensively and defensively, so there are signs of life. The lackluster shooting from 3-point range is still a concern, with this being the Rams’ 3rd game out of their last 5 shooting 20% or lower from beyond the arc. Nevertheless, with a couple strong practices, Coach Cox’s men should be able to bounce back against 3-5 Sacred Heart with minimal fuss. The Rams welcome the Sacred Heart Pioneers to the Ryan Center on Tuesday, December 7th, at 6:00pm.