Brown and URI Basketball Set to Renew Rivalry at Ryan Center

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

 

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PHOTO: Brownbears.com

Last season, Brown and URI basketball gave Rhode Island basketball fans arguably the best game of the year. The Rams won a 88-85 overtime win in front of a packed house at Brown's Pizzitola Center.  

On Wednesday night, the two teams renew their rivalry at URI's Ryan Center, a game being played as part of the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame Tipoff Tournament. 

See Brown & URI's Starting Lineups in the Slideshow Below

"It's obviously a big game for us, a big rivalry, one that dates back a long time, long before any of us were involved in it. This year it is going to be a huge challenge going down there, especially given how well they are playing right now," Brown head coach Mike Martin told GoLocal. 

Game time is set for 7 p.m. 

URI 

After being plagued by injuries all of last season, URI comes into the game against Brown with a 2-0 record and ranked #21 in the country.  

Star guard EC Matthews has looked like he never left after missing all of last season with a torn ACL. Matthews has scored 21 and 22 points respectively in each of URI's first two games, and doing it in a variety of different ways, shooting the three, driving to the basket and shooting the mid range jump shot. 

For example, Matthews was 8 for 10 from the field, including 3 of 4 from three in URI's win over Marist. 

But it has not been all Matthews, reigning A-10 Defensive Player of the Year Hassan Martin has posted two double-doubles in two games while piling up nine blocked shots so far this season. 

"We are a good shooting team, and a great passing team that can beat opponents in a lot of different ways," said URI head coach Dan Hurley after URI's 107-65 win over Marist. 

The Rams are averaging 96 points and 16 assists per game to this point in the season. 

"We are going to need to do a great job of playing team defense, and executing our offense. But it is going to be a big challenge," said Martin, who is in his fifth season at Brown, but is still searching for his first win over URI. 

A URI win would make them to 3-0 on the season and sets up a top 25 matchup with Cincinnati on Saturday afternoon at Mohegan Sun Arena. 

Brown 

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Tavon Blackmon

Following a season opening loss to nationally ranked Cincinnati, Brown bounced back with an 88-79 win over Niagara in their home opener. 

Against Niagara, forward Steven Spieth came one assist shy of posting only the third triple-double in Ivy League history with 27 points, ten rebounds and nine assists. 

Spieth, a senior captain, has averaged 18 points and eight rebounds to lead Brown so far this season. 

"Steven has been playing great all fall, all preseason and has really worked hard to improve his game, his ball handling and his shooting," said Martin. 

While Spieth has been a focal point, the Bears have gotten contributions from freshman forward Joshua Howard, who has started each of Brown's first two games and averaged 11 points per game while shooting 48% from the field. 

The player that makes the Brown offense go is senior guard and team captain Tavon Blackmon. 

"It all starts with Tavon. He is our point guard, the ball is in his hands. As we say, he is 'our engine,'" Martin told GoLocalProv prior to the season. 

In two games, Blackmon is averaging 3.5 assists and 9.5 points per game for Brown. As a team, the Bears are averaging 12 assists per game. 

A win over URI would be Brown's first in the series since 2011, and would also serve as one of the biggest wins in program history. 

On to Mohegan Sun 

Following this game, both teams will head to Connecticut to play weekend games at Mohegan Sun Arena. 

Brown will take on Marist on Saturday, November 19 at 5:30 p.m. and then Abany on Sunday, November 20 at 8 p.m. 

URI will face Cincinnati on Saturday, November 19 at 3 p.m., and then face either #1 Duke or Penn State on Sunday,November 20. The time for that game is yet to be determined. 

For tickets to the games at Mohegan Sun, Click here. 

 

Related Slideshow: Starting Lineup Projections for URI, PC, Bryant & Brown Basketball Teams

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URI

G - E.C. Matthews - Redshirt Junior 

The biggest story line for the upcoming college basketball season in Rhode Island is the return of Matthews from a torn ACL, which he suffered in the first game of the 2015-16 season. 

"Anytime you return a guy who is a potential player of the year candidate and potential NBA Draft pick, it gives the entire team a shot in the arm," said URI head coach Dan Hurley. 

Matthews was named second team all-conference at the Atlantic 10 media day, and most recently, he was named to the Jerry West Award watch list for the third straight season. 

For his career, Matthews averages 16 points per game. 

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URI

G - Jared Terrell - Junior 

Terrell has started 64 of the 65 games that he has played in his career, and this season will split back court duties with E.C. Matthews, giving the Rams one of the best back courts in the conference. 

Last season, Terrell averaged 13.6 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game for the Rams, reaching double figures in scoring in 13 of URI's final 14 games. 

In those 13 games, Terrell had at least 20 points in six of them. 

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URI

G - Jarvis Garrett - Junior

How tough is Garrett?

During a January 30 game against St. Joseph's, Garrett was knocked out, and would miss the next game against UMass.

He would return the following game against La Salle wearing a full face mask, and poured in a career high 26 points.

Garrett would play with the mask the remainder of the season.

He ended the year shooting 42% from three-point land to to lead URI, while averaging 12.5 points and 4.7 assists per game. 

He was named to the USBWA All-District one team at the close of the regular season. 

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URI

F - Hassan Martin - Senior 

Martin became the first URI Ram to win the A-10 Defensive Player of the Year Award since its inception in 1996-97 despite being bothered by a knee injury and missing URI's last four games.  

Martin was named to the A-10's preseason all-defensive team and also second team all conference at A-10 media day. 

"When Hassan was at his best was during his sophomore year when he was just a complete animal. I think you will see some of that this year," said Hurley.  

Martin had 103 blocked shots and 24 steals during his sophomore season, while averaging 11.4 points per game, helping the Rams earn a spot in the National Invitational Tournament (NIT). 

In 2015-16, Martin averaged 2.5 blocks per game overall, and 2.4 blocks per game in conference play, putting him atop the league leaders for the third straight season. The 2.5 blocks per game was 18th best in the country.

Martin finished his 2015-16 season with 65 blocked shots, ranking him sixth in program history for most blocks in a season. He is also second all-time on URI's career blocked shots list with 248 blocks. 

Offensively, Martin averaged 12 points per game last season, averaging nine points per game for his career. 

Reunited with Matthews, the two will serve as one of the top 1-2 punches in the A-10.

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URI

F - Kuran Iverson - Senior 

Now in his second season with the Rams after transferring in from Memphis, Iverson is coming off a 2015-16 campaign where he averaged 9.8 points per game, and recorded four double-doubles. 

Expect to see Iverson get much better looks this year with the return of E.C. Matthews. 

"I think for him its just simplyfiyng his game. He has so much talent on the floor, he needs to focus on doing a couple of things really well," said Hurley. "He has the ability to be an elite offensive rebounder, just needs to keep it simple."

Iverson is the cousin of NBA Hall of Famer Allen Iverson. 

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Providence

G - Kyron Cartwright - Junior 

Kyron Cartwright has big shoes to fill as he replaces Kris Dunn at the point guard position. 

"We are looking for Kyron to be a vocal leader, and a leader on the floor. We need him in order to get where we want to go," said Providence head coach Ed Cooley. 

During the 2015-16 season, Cartwright averaged six points and four assists per game for the Friars in an average of 24.2 minutes of action per game. 

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Providence

G - Ryan Fazekas - Sophomore 

Sharpshooter Ryan Fazekas started 12 of 28 games for the Friars in his freshman season, but missed about a month of action due to mono. 

Fazekas averaged five points per game for PC, and shot 34% from behind the three-point line for the year. 

"I think that he is developing great, he continues to put the work in. He should be a focal point in our offense this year," said Ed Cooley. 

His best game came against Brown in the third game of the season, when he connected on five of the eight three pointers that he attempted, scoring a career high 17 points. 

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Providence

F - Rodney Bullock - Junior

Kris Dunn and Ben Bentil are gone, mean Bullock is going to be one of the go-to guys in the Friars offense. 

"His role is going to change, Kyron's role is going to change. We are going to rely heavily on them for offense, and will need both of them to score points" said Cooley. 

Bullock averaged 11.4 points and 6.8 rebounds while playing an average of 32 minutes per game. 

Rodney Bullock etched his name in the Providence College history books by hitting the game winning shot against USC in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. 

The 2015-16 campaign was Bullock's first season of college basketball after he tore his ACL in October of 2014, and was suspended for the 2013-14 season. 

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Providence

F - Emmitt Holt - Junior 

Holt, a 6 '7" forward with a 7'3" wingspan, comes to the Friars from Indian Hills Community College where he averaged 11.6 points and 6.4 rebounds per game, while shooting 69% from the field. 

Prior to Indian Hills, Holt attended the University of Indiana but was dismissed after being cited for illegal possession of alcohol in August of 2015. 

That incident came just ten months after he hit teammate Devin Davis with his car, while having alcohol in his system. 

"Emmitt is an impressive young name with a bright future, and he will have a successful final two seasons at Providence. Emmitt is the type of person and player that will try to do whatever is asked of him. He is very unselfish and will fit great into the basketball program at Providence, as well as in PC's community," said Indian Hills head coach, Hank Piona, upon Holt's commitment to Providence. 

He has two years of eligibility left. 

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Providence

F - Kalif Young - Freshman 

Young is a 6'9" forward with a 7'0" wingspan from Toronto, Canada where he attended Orangeville Prep. He is ranked as a three-star recruit by Rivals.com. 

On the freshman class, Cooley said, "They are learning, they are nervous, they are trying not to make a mistake, which means they are making every mistake, but they will be okay. We just have to coach their confidence." 

Last spring, Young played for the CIA Bounce of the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL) and averaged 6.8 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. 

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Bryant

G - Hunter Ware - Junior

Hunter Ware started 29 of the 30 games that he played in for Bryant last season, and scored at least 20 points on six different occasions for the Bulldogs. 

On the season, Ware averaged 12.7 points per game, while shooting 41% from the field. 

"He has been around, now he is a junior so he has a great feel for what we are trying to do. The biggest thing for him is to show consistency with his shooting," said Bryant associate head coach Happy Dobbs. 

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Bryant

G -  Ikenna Ndugba - Freshman

According to Dobbs, freshman Ikenna Ndugba will be in the starting lineup for the Bulldogs when they tip off their season in November. 

Ndugba is from Boston where he played for coach John McVeigh at the Brooks School. 

In his senior season, he led his team in scoring with 13 points, 6.5 assists and four steals per game while finishing third in rebounding, averaging six rebounds per game. 

When the season ended, Ndugba was named Independent School League Player of the Year, New England Class B Player of the year and MVP of the New England Class B Tournament Team. 

 

PHOTO: Ikenna Ndugba/twitter 

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Bryant

G - Nisre Zouzoua - Sophomore

As a freshman, Brockton's Zouzoua  became only the second freshman to lead the Bulldogs in scoring in the program's Division I history. The previous freshman to do so was Alex Francis.

Zouzoua appeared in 31 games for the Bulldogs, starting 25 of them. He was selected to the NEC All-Rookie team after leading Bryant with 12.8 points per game. 

He also showed his range, knocking down 60 three-pointers on the year, and shooting 37% from behind the three-point line. The 60 three-pointers ranked second most among league rookies. 

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Bryant

F - Marcel Pettway - Sophomore

North Providence's Pettway became only the second player in program history to earn the NEC Rookie of the Year award, after Alex Francis did it in 2011. He will look to build on that success in 2016-17. 

"He is more confident coming back this year. Now he is just working on every aspect of his game and focusing more on his free throw shooting," said Dobbs. 

In 2015-16, Pettway started the last 22 games for Bryant and finished his freshman year averaging 11.4 points per game, fourth best among league rookies. Pettway shot 59.7 percent from the field on the season and recorded 8 double-doubles, including a career high 26 points and 11 rebounds against Fairleigh Dickinson. 

The 8 double-doubles are tied for most by a freshman in Bryant's Division I history. 

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Bryant

F - Dan Garvin - Senior 

At 6'6" Garvin averaged 10.2 points and 8 rebounds per game in 26 games for Bryant during the 2015-16 campaign. 

His eight rebounds per game were good enough for seventh best in the NEC. 

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Brown

G - Tavon Blackmon - Senior 

Named a captain for the 2016-17 season, Blackmon is coming off a 2015-16 season in which he dished out 5.5 assists per game to lead the Ivy League, while ranking fourth in three-point field goal percentage - shooting 44% from behind the three-point line. 

"All of our captains are important, but it all starts with Tavon. He is our point guard, the ball is in his hands. As we say, he is our engine," said Brown head coach Mike Martin. 

Along with the assists, Blackmon also reached double figures in scoring 20 times, and scored at least 20 points on four different occasions for the Bears. 

For his career, Blackmon averages ten points and 4.3 assists per game. 

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Brown

G - JR Hobbie - Senior 

Named one of three captains for the 2016-17 season, sharpshooter Hobbie enters his final season ranking fifth all-time at Brown with 191 career three-pointers made. In 2015-16 he ranked third in the Ivy League in three-pointers made per game with an average of 2.6. 

"JR is one of the best shooters that I have ever been around, he is a huge weapon for us," said Martin. 

For his career, Hobbie averages 7.9 points per game and shoots 42% from three-point land. 

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Brown

F - Steven Spieth - Senior 

Named one of three captains for the 2016-17 season, Spieth is coming off a 2015-16 campaign where averaged 10.9 points and 7.2 rebounds per game for the Bears.

In his career, Spieth has started 86 of the 87 games that he has played in and has averaged 9.6 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. 

Spieth is the brother of professional golf star Jordan Spieth, who has won two major championships in his career, and most recently helped Team USA win the Ryder Cup. 

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Brown

F - David Erebor - Freshman 

6'9" forward, Erebor is a rated as a two-star recruit, according to Scout.com, out of Our Lady of Carmel School in Maryland. 

“David is a talented front court player, who comes with a very high ceiling. He's mobile, athletic, and can protect the rim defensively. Offensively, he is comfortable with his back to the basket or facing up. He will make an impact at both ends of the floor," said Brown head coach Mike Martin. 

As a senior at Our Lady of Mount Carmel High School, Erebor averaged 15 points and eight rebounds per game. 

He was named Defensive Player of the Year in his senior season. 

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Brown

F - Brandon Charnov - Freshman 

Charnov is a 6'11" freshman out of Kinkaid High School in Houston, Texas, and brings the Bears much needed size and scoring up front.

Charnov is rated as a two-star recruit, according to Verbal Commits.com, and averaged 15 points and nine rebounds per game in his senior year of high school. 

"All of our freshmen are working hard, we are throwing a lot at them. It's obviously a big adjustment for them both on and off the court, but they were all recruited for a reason and our hope is that they will be able to contribute sooner rather than later," said Martin. 

 
 

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