The Rams couldn’t play much worse than they did Saturday- I’d actually be shocked if they could.
In front of a sellout crowd, to say the least, Rhody walked off the court down 29 points, seemingly excited to get away from a Dayton team that just couldn’t miss.
“I’ll start with the understatement- that was an embarrassing loss,” Coach David Cox said after the loss, which was possibly his worst of the season.
The defense struggled all game when the Flyers came to Kingston, with those struggles carrying over to the offensive side of the ball.
Rhode Island shot just 29.6 percent from the field, including 3-of-19 when they stepped behind the arc. On the other side, Dayton had four double-digit scorers and shot over 60 percent from the field, including six made threes on a dozen attempts.
Besides Cyril Langevine, who was the highlight with 23 points and 10 rebounds, nobody had a great night on the floor, as the team only scored 48 points and allowed 77 from the Flyers.
Dayton packed the lane, said Cox- forcing Rhode Island to shoot the three, which has been their weakness all season.
“It was a matter of our lack of offensive confidence affecting us on the defensive end,” Cox said. “When you pack the lanes, you can’t drive- you can’t throw the ball in because there are bodies there. At some point, you have to step in and make a shot. They’re daring us to shoot, we’ve got to step into those shots and take them with confidence.”
Normally this season, some aspect of Rhode Island’s game would show up. In an ugly offensive contest against Providence College, they allowed only 10 field goals in the second half. In a game where Harvard walked into the Ryan Center and shot the lights out, Rhode Island persevered with great, late offense. Rarely have they been dominated on both ends of the floor like they were Saturday.
For most of the game, it looked like URI had quit. Will Leviton checked into the game for 2:05 and played with more hustle than most any of the guys had before him, and Cox mentioned it postgame, too.
“I love Will to death,” he said. “But he can’t go out there and play harder than our starters, our rotation players. It can’t happen.”
I’m wincing and knocking on wood typing this- but this HAS to be rock bottom for the season. It was Rhody’s worst scoring night, and while they’ve allowed more points- they’ve never looked so helpless on defense (The George Mason game is a close second).
So that means it can only get better from here. Fatts Russell will NOT be held scoreless in another game this season. Dayton’s tight interior defense prevented him from driving to the lane and getting to the line- something he has excelled at all season. Jeff Dowtin IS a talented shooter, who just had an off night. Cyril’s performance is something to be positive about- but mostly all other impact players had their worst night of the season, collectively.
It was one of the burn-the-tape games. Take what you need to learn from it, and never go back to it again. Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019, did not happen, and it will not be spoken of in Kingston.
The Rams have seven remaining contests before the A10 tournament- plenty of time to get it together. They will take a week to practice, and put up a week’s worth of jump shots, before hosting Fordham next Saturday.