Philadelphia, PA – ESPN’s resident bracketologist, Joe Lunardi, who has Rhode Island as one of his first four teams out, was in the house as the Rams scored their biggest win over St. Joseph’s at Hagan Arena in the Phil Martelli era with a 68-49 shellacking. While a defeat would have almost certainly ended Rhode Island’s at-large hopes, the blowout victory over a depleted Saint Joe’s squad with leading scorers Lamar Kimble (foot) and Shavar Newkirk (knee) are out for the year was expected.
Rhode Island dominated from the opening whistle, jumping out to a 36-20 lead at half and finishing the game with a +13-rebounding advantage. For such a dominant display, the Rams played a shockingly poor offensive game. Against a lax 2-3 zone, the Rams shot just 4-of-26 from deep and struggled to find good shots. The knock on Rhode Island is its 3-point shooting, and despite the blowout loss, Saint Joe’s showed the blueprint for beating the Rams.
What carried Rhode Island was its length and athleticism. Behind the stellar defense of senior forwards Kuran Iverson and Hassan Martin, the Rams held Saint Joe’s to 19-of-50 from the field and the Hawks to a season-low 49 points. Iverson and Martin were men among boys Wednesday night, dominating the paint for a combined 23 points and 16 boards. EC Matthews scored a team-high 13 points as nine Rams found the net.
Without Kimble and Newkirk, Saint Joe’s has looked to 6-7 freshman guard Charlie Brown and 6-6 junior forward James Demery to fill the gaping 35.8 ppg hole. Brown, who has scored in double figures in his last 14 games, continued the streak last night, while also breaking Saint Joe’s freshman three-point record held by Langston Galloway, scoring 13 points. Brown is asked to do a little too much for this Hawks team, but figures to be a serious A-10 first team contender down the line. Demery, who is a bit undersized to play the 4 and not a good enough shooter to play on the perimeter had one of his worst games of the year, scoring just eight points and pulling down just two rebounds.
The Hawks (10-19, 3-14) finish their regular season at fellow A-10 bottom-feeder, Duquesne, on March 4th. Rhode Island (20-9, 12-5), who locked up a coveted double bye in the A-10 Tournament, will looks to add to its resume Saturday against Davidson.
This article was written by Robert Smuckler, a correspondent and scout for NetScouts Basketball. You can subscribe to our RSS feed from the upper right corner of our home page, follow us on Facebook, or on twitter.
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