Another win slips through the Rams’ fingers. Coming off of a disappointing 15 point blown lead loss to George Washington University, URI men’s basketball dropped their second game in a row. This time to the Richmond Spiders. Richmonds’ forward and guard, Grant Golden and Jacob Gilyard combined for 30 points en route to defeating Rhode Island 70-63 tonight. 

Less than an hour before gametime, URI’s senior starting point guard Jeremy Sheppard was removed from the lineup with a reported shoulder injury. However, when one door closes, another one opens. Which was exactly the case for freshman guard Sebastian Thomas. With Sheppard out, head coach David Cox gave the freshman the nod to start for the first time in his young career. 

“I’m proud of this guy [Thomas], he was informed about 30 minutes before the game that he was going to get the start,” said Cox. “I thought he came out there and kept us in the game and gave us every chance to win, even when he was fatigued. I’m really proud of him.” 

Although Thomas failed to record a point tonight, (shooting 0-8 from the field) he was able to contribute in other ways. Thomas set a new career high in assists with 7. Thomas gave the Rams big minutes by playing a total of just about 38 minutes. 

“I felt very confident out there passing to my teammates and creating shots for them,” said Thomas. “But obviously it wasn’t enough to get the win so I’m not too happy about it.” 

The Ryan Center had the backing of their beloved student section again tonight after a long winter break. The Rams certainly gave the rhody faithful something to cheer for in the first half, going into halftime up 39-26. However the game script seemed to flip on its head in the second half. 

The Rhody lead slowly dwindled throughout the second half. A 12-4 Richmond run helped spark the comeback, a comeback that ultimately was too much for Rhode Island to handle. With two minutes and thirty six seconds left in the second half, Richmond finally regained the lead for the first time since there were ten minutes remaining in the first half. 

“We just couldn’t seem to keep our foot on their necks,” said Cox. “You got to give credit to Richmond and their tough veteran players. They really showed their age and experience in the second half.”

Richmond 5th year guard Gilyard proved to give Rhode Island problems on both sides of the ball. Gilyard ended the game with 15 points, 6 assists and 3 steals while shooting a perfect 9-9 from the free throw line. 

“I have a tremendous amount of respect for him, he’s a great kid, a great point guard and he made some big plays down the stretch,” said Cox. “He’s been doing that his entire career.”  

After taking two disappointing losses to A-10 opponents, the Rams aim to get back on track against another conference opponent when they travel to Dayton on Friday, January 28th at 7:00 P.M.