Non-conference Battle Slated in Kingston
On Friday night, the Rhode Island Rams (1-1) will play host to the SEC’s Alabama Crimson Tide (1-1) in Kingston, R.I. The last time URI hosted an SEC opponent was Nov. 10, 1998, when the Rams defeated Vanderbilt 82-69 in the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence R.I. This will be the first time an SEC team will play inside the Ryan Center.
A Look at URI
Head Coach David Cox and his team are coming off a 73-55 defeat at #7 Maryland. After leading for the majority of the first half and trailing by just three at the half. That’s when the offensive struggles kicked in, shooting just 20.6% from the field in the second half and the Terrapins pulled away for a victory at home.
This team returns six of its top seven scorers from 2018-19, however, is still searching for an offensive identity. URI is shooting just 34% from the field in its first two contests this season. The goal will be to move the ball inside-outside effectively and create open looks against an athletic Tide defense. Coach Cox and his staff will look to veteran guard Jeff Dowtin, a careful ball-handler to facilitate the offense
The catalyst for this team has been senior big man Cyril Langevine pulled down 17 rebounds in the contest at Maryland, leading all players in that category. Through two games, the East Orange, N.J. native is averaging 16.0 rebounds per game, a mark that currently ranks second NCAA Division 1 thus far. Langevine will look to make an impact down low on both ends of the floor facing a youthful Alabama frontcourt.
A Look at Alabama
On the other sideline, first-year head coach Nate Oats had a disastrous start in his debut at the helm. Alabama lost to Ivy league opponent Pennsylvania 81-80 on their home floor. The Crimson Tide earned their first win of the 2019-20 season Monday night with a 78-59 victory vs. Florida Atlantic. They’re led by sophomore guard Kira Lewis Jr. who established himself last year as a volume scorer. Lewis Jr. was named to the 2019 All-SEC Freshman team a season ago and netted a career-high 30 points in the season-opening loss. He’ll look to provide an offensive spark for the road team.
Alabama will be without former Villanova Wildcat Jahvon Quinerly transferred to Alabama this offseason. Last week, the NCAA denied his request for an immediate eligibility waiver and the former five-star recruit will have to sit out for the remainder of the 2019-20 season.
This is the third-ever meeting between the two schools. Alabama owns both wins in their previous two meetings. The last time these two teams met was two years ago when the Crimson Tide defeated the Rams 68-64 in Tuscaloosa, AL. The other was in 1992, on a neutral court in Santa Clara, CA. Rhody lost by the narrowest of margins suffering a 79-78 defeat.
Both teams still have players on their roster that made an impact during that game in 2017. URI guard Fatts Russell recorded 12 points in 21 minutes off the bench. As for Alabama, starting guard John Petty scored 12 points on 4-9 shooting from the field.
How Can You Watch?
URI vs. Alabama will be broadcasted on NBCSN and tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Don’t want to miss this one, going to be a good matchup in the Ryan Center.