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URI Holds Off PC 75-68

Sunday, December 03, 2017

 

The University of Rhode Island Rams men’s basketball team got 20 points off the bench from freshman Fatts Russell en route to a 75-68 win over the Providence College Friars.

The win is URI’s first win in the series since 2009. Providence had won seven straight and eight of the last nine matchups.

"This game was for the seniors, this game was for our fans. I could get a sense of the hate between the two fan bases and for the next caldendar year, Rhode Island fans can feel pretty good so I am thrilled for them," said URI head coach Dan Hurley after the game. 

"I think this was one of the worst games we played, as far as, offensively, and I think their defense had a lot to do with it. Give them alot of credit, I thought they played hard, I thought they played with a purpose and they made alot of big shots. So it is a really good team win for them, and we will move on," added PC head coach Ed Cooley. 

The win improves URI to 5-2 on the season, while PC drops to 6-2.

URI Holds Off PC in Second Half 

After leading by double figures for most of the half, URI saw the Friars cut their lead to three, 62-59, with five minutes to play before freshman Fatts Russell got fouled shooting a three.

He knocked down all three of his free throws to push the URI lead back up to six, 65-59.

The Friars would again cut the lead to three, 67-62, with 3:11 to play when Jared Terrell converted a layup to extend the lead.

Leading 67-64, Jarvis Garrett would knock down a jump shot to give URI a 69-64 lead with 2:29 to play in the game

The Rams would convert free throws in the final minute to seal the win and end a seven-game losing streak to the Friars. 

Rams Take Advantage of PC Turnovers 

The Friars built as much as a 16-9 lead early in the first half before holding a 23-20 lead with 7:35 to play following a dunk by Nate Watson.

However, the Rams would force the Friars into 14 first-half turnovers, leading to 19 points to take control of the game. 

"We obviously really rattled them, especially in the first half and I think our pressure ran out of gas in the second," said Hurley. 

"That's on me. I thought we had some bad substitutions, guys have to be ready in that situation. I think coach Hurley should buy everyone in this crowd a dinner cause their student section gave them a lot of energy," Cooley said. 

Trailing 23-20, URI went on an 18-2 run to take a 38-25 lead following a three from Fats Russell in front of the PC bench. 

The Friars cut it to nine, 40-31, before Russell ended the half with a layup to give Rhode Island a 42-31 advantage at the break.

Next Up 

PC returns to action on Wednesday, December 6 when they host Brown at the Dunkin' Donuts Center. 

Game time is set for 7 p.m. 

URI also returns to action on Wednesday, December 6 when they visit Alabama. 

Game time is set for 8 p.m. 

 

Related Slideshow: PC vs. URI - What You Need to Know

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Tickets 

Tickets for the game are sold out and have been for about a week. 

However, if you're looking to go, you can buy tickets on StubHub (as of Friday) for as little as $175 and as much as $235. 

The game can be found on CBS Sports Network. 

Tip-off is set for 5 p.m. 

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Cooley Blasts Ryan Center Crowd 

Providence College head coach Ed Cooley fired shots across the bow during his media availability on Thursday at Alumni Hall. 

Cooley blasted URI fans for not selling out the building every night. 

"When Providence College goes to the Ryan Center we know it is going to be sold out. I think people are cheating that program 

I think people are cheating that program not selling the building out every night. It is a great brand of basketball, they have done a really good job building it. It’s a shame that the Ryan Center can’t sell out every game, and it’s only sellout is when the Friars come to town.

Hopefully, those fans that support them understand the importance of a home court advantage, and I think those kids and those coaches down there deserve it.”

Expect the URI fans to be out in full force on Sunday.

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History of the Rivalry 

The Friars and Rams have played continuously since 1935, but the rivalry really picked up in the 70's when Dave Gavitt's top recruit, Sly Williams, said he would come to Providence and then changed his mind and went to URI. 

Back then, PC did not require recruits to sign letters of intent like they do now. 

Following his career at URI, Williams went on to be selected by the New York Knicks in the first round of the 1979 NBA draft. 

Overall, the teams have met 127 times, with the Friars holding a 73-54 advantage. 

PC has won seven straight against the Rams and eight of the last nine. 

URI's last win in the series came in 2009.  

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PC This Season 

The Friars are off to a 6-1 start this season, their only loss coming to #14 Minnesota in the second game of the year. 

Most recently, PC escaped with an 88-84 win over Rider earlier this week. 

Following the game, Ed Cooley said, "I thought we did everything bad." 

The Friars also have wins over Houston Baptist, Washington, Saint Louis, a last-second win over Belmont followed by a win over Boston College. 

"This team right now doesn't have the grit, and I mean that, the grit to be a great team. Right now we are too casual in our approach. That may sound a little harsh, but until we are the grittiest team, night in and night out we are going to be in these close games and hope we can come out with a win," said Ed Cooley following the Friars narrow win over Rider. 

Saturday's game against Rhode Island will be PC's first true road game of the season. 

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URI This Season 

The Rams enter the game with a record of 4-2 after a win over Brown University earlier this week. 

"Defensively we haven't been that good, so this last week we put a lot of focus into that aspect of our game," said Hurley, following the Brown game. 

URI also has wins over UNC Asheville, Holy Cross, and #20 Seton Hall in the NIT Season Tip-off tournament. 

Their losses come on the road to Nevada and to Virginia in the NIT Championship game. 

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NCAA Tournament Implications 

Saturday’s game carries NCAA Tournament implications for both teams.

Entering the game, URI has the 10th best RPI in the country, while the Friars RPI sits at 26.

The RPI rankings measure each team's strength of schedule and is adjusted based on wins and losses and who those wins and losses come against.

“It’s a national game, and it has huge NCAA Tournament ramifications for both teams, and I think that is kind of what we are focused on. It has become a top 50, maybe top 30 RPI game for both teams now. So the team that wins it, we obviously both have NCAA Tournament goals and aspirations, so the team that wins it just got themselves a leg up on getting an at-large bid," said Hurley. 

Last year, URI's A-10 Championship victory knocked the Friars into a First Four game, which they lost to the University of Southern California. 

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Matchup to Watch - Cartwright vs Terrell 

The matchup to watch will be between the two point guards, PC's Kyron Cartwright and URI's Jared Terrell. 

In the absence of E.C. Matthews, Terrell has stepped up for URI, averaging 19 points per game and shooting 50% from the field. 

"I owe it to my teammates. They help me get better in practice and throughout the games, so I owe it to them," said Terrell during URI's media availability on Thursday. 

Kyron Cartwright is averaging 12 points and seven assists per game for the Friars so far this season. 

"Kyron is playing as well as any point guard in the country, you know he runs the team, he is being more aggressive offensively, of which we need him to be. He is shooting the ball well. He is just playing with a different swag, and if we are going to be a good basketball team, we need him to do that," said Cooley following PC's game against Boston College. 

Cartwright currently ranks 12th in the country in assists. 

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PC X-Factor -  Kalif Young/Nate Watson 

A big difference maker in the game could be the production the Friars get out of the center position between sophomore Kalif Young and freshman Nate Watson.

In PC's last game against Rider, the two combined for nine points and three rebounds. 

"No, it is not a concern. I thought they had some good looks in front of the rim, we missed a couple of layups. They will be fine," Cooley said after the game. 

Earlier this week, PC announced that Emmitt Holt would be out for the season, meaning Young and Watson will have to carry the load for the Friars. 

"The Holt injury is a major problem. He is the toughest player on the team, the best rebounder, and a post up guy that they don’t have. He is also a good outside guy that can stretch the defense. Plus, you lose the experience," PC radio analyst Joe Hassett told GoLocal prior to the season. 

If Young and Watson can combine for a double-double in the game, that would be a huge lift for PC. 

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URI X-Factor - Stanford Robinson 

Since the injury to Matthews, Robinson has been put in the starting lineup. 

In his four games as a starter, Robinson poured in 12 and 15 points respectively against Holy Cross and Seton Hall.

However, he has only scored eight and six points against Virginia and Brown respectively. 

In the other two games of the season, in which he came off the bench, he poured in 18 points against UNC Asheville, but then only three points on the road against Nevada. 

Robinson is averaging 10.3 points per game so far in his second season with URI. 

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The Freshmen 

Three key freshmen for URI and PC will see action in their first rivalry game on Saturday. It will be interesting to see how they react to an electric atmosphere. 

For the Friars, guard Makai Ashton-Langford and center Nate Watson will see significant time, while Fatts Russell will see significant minutes for the Rams. 

Ashton-Langford has averaged six points per game for PC, while Watson has averaged seven points and three rebounds per game. 

For the Rams, Fatts Russell is averaging seven points per game and is shooting 42% from the field. 

In the Rams last game against Brown, Russell poured in a career-high 20 points to help URI cruise to the win. 

 
 

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