Offensive Explosion: URI Soars Past Dayton 88-76
Sunday, January 26, 2014
KINGSTON, RI-- Xavier Munford scored 27 points, E.C. Matthews had a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds, and the URI Rams found their offensive rhythm early and often Saturday in beating Dayton 88-76 at the Ryan Center.
Matthews scored 16 of his points in the second half, and URI won the rebounding battle 34-23 in handling the Flyers with surprising ease Saturday.
URI shot a season-best 64% from the floor (30-48) and shot 50% from 3 point range (5-10) in the win. All 5 starters scored at least 9 points individually and combined for 82 points as a unit.
"Obviously it’s the best we’ve been offensively this year,” said URI Head Coach Dan Hurley. Hurley pointed to veterans like Munford and Gilvydas Biruta as tone setters early for the young and inexperienced Rams.
URI exploded out of the gate offensively, scoring 15 points in the game’s first 5:02 and creating a buzz of excitement in the Ryan Center early on. Munford had an incredible first half, scoring 18 points on 8-11 shooting. Biruta added 11 points (on 5-5) for the Rams, and despite a 7-0 run to close the half by the Flyers, URI led 39-31 at the break.
URI shot 64% for the half, their best percentage of the season. Dayton shot a very respectable 50% from the half and yet the Flyers found themselves struggling to stay within striking distance.
The second half was more of the same. Dayton finished the game shooting 51% from the floor and never got closer than 8 points late in the second half. The only saving grace for the Flyers was Rhody’s mediocre free throw shooting (23-40, 58%).
4 Flyers scored in double figures, led by Dyshawn Pierre’s 17 points. Hurley knew the Rams would need to score plenty of points to keep up with the balanced scoring attack of the Flyers, and his players responded to the challenge.
Next up for the Rams is a road tilt at Fordham next Saturday. URI returns home Sunday, February 9th, to take on nationally ranked UMass.
--Hurley said postgame that injured guard Biggie Minnis (hip pointer) would be out indefinitely. URI is now down to 8 available scholarship players for games.
--The Rams do have a 9th scholarship player at practice this semester. Junior College recruit Earl Watson (from Chipola College in Florida) is enrolled at URI and able to practice with the team. Watson won’t be eligible to play in games until next season per NCAA rules.
--URI broke out their alternate dark blue uniforms for the nationally televised game Saturday, and the results speak for themselves. If there’s anyone in the Rhody locker room who believes in superstition, we might see the classic unis again this season.
--One lighter note from Hurley’s postgame presser: T.J. Buchanan took a hard hit late in the game when he ran into a screen from 6’10” 250 pound Dayton center Matt Kavanaugh. When asked if his point guard was okay after taking such a stiff shot, Hurley replied, “T.J. is always okay. T.J. is like Robocop.” Hurley then spoke highly of Buchanan’s toughness and intangibles, including his mentoring of many of the young players on the team.