It would be misleading if I didn’t start this recap with a note on the environment in Kingston, Rhode Island this afternoon. This storied rivalry has divided the Ocean State’s basketball scene for decades, and today the tradition continued. From the beginning of warm ups, the Ryan Center was loud, hostile, and tense, to the point where many whistles could not be heard from the floor. Climates like this are what make college basketball so great.
As for the game, the Rams defeated the Friars for the first time in seven years. Providence showed some toughness fighting back into this one, but Dan Hurley’s bunch just had the edge on Saturday.
URI came out ice cold to begin this one, starting off 1-11 from the field. 5 Providence turnovers alongside ability to get to the line allowed the game to stay tight out of the gate.
Loud was an understatement for the crowd noise, and technical fouls only fueled the fire. The first was dished out to Dan Hurley, followed by an Ed Cooley tech shortly thereafter.
The Rams were able to drastically swing the momentum in their favor about 11 minutes into the half, as a 27-7 run pushed them out to a 13 point lead inside of 3 minutes. URI’s defense caused a ton of problems for the Friars, spurring 14 PC turnovers.
Fatts Russell was the go to guy for the Rams over the first 20 minutes, going 6-8 from the field for 14 points. He scored a game-high 21.
URI led 42-31 at the half.
The second frame started where the first left off, as the Friars struggled to find any sort of rhythm on the offensive side of the ball. At the first media timeout, Kyron Cartwright had zero 0 points and 2 assists. Tough to find an offensive flow when your point guard is virtually nonexistent.
Every time the Friars would threaten, URI would answer, until the 10 minute mark, when Providence was able to make their first cut into the deficit. An Alpha Diallo three lowered the URI lead to 5, and from here on out, it would be a battle for the Friars to knot this game up.
This was a 3 point game with just over 2 minutes remaining, but Providence’s free throw woes would come back to bite them in the end. URI was able handled the late-game chaos to finally get back into the win column vs the Friars.
- Free throws were a big problem for the Friars tonight. They went 10-21 from the charity stripe. 47.6% isn’t going to cut it in games like this.
- Kyron Cartwright would ultimately finish with just 2 points and 4 assists. Providence certainly could’ve used him down the stretch.
- It was Alpha Diallo leading the way for PC with 17 points and 7 rebounds. Once again, his efforts on the glass were atop the scoresheet. Kalif Young and Nate Watson combined for just 6 rebounds.
- During the absence of EC Matthews, Jared Terrell has been the go-to scorer for the Rams. He had 11 points on 2-11 shooting.
- In their first game in a hostile environment, freshmen Nate Watson and Makai Ashton-Langford (10 and 12 points, respectively) looked confident and comfortable. This is definitely a good sign for the Friars, as underclassmen don’t often exhibit that kind of poise this early in their careers.
- URI was great on the defensive end, causing 21 turnovers. Besides the first 5 minutes of the game, Providence never looked comfortable with the ball.
The Friars are now 6-2.